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Apple Considered Always-On Display for the Original iPhone

by Jacob Kleinman | April 7, 2014April 7, 2014 3:30 pm PDT

steve-jobs-original-2007-iphone

Apple and Samsung are back in court this month over claims of patent infringement, which means both companies will be spending time and money that could have instead been spent designing awesome new products… but we digress. The one upside of these trials is the new perspectives we don’t often get on Apple and Samsung’s history. New testimony from the California courtroom reveals some interesting information on an early prototype for the original iPhone.

Speaking in court last Friday, Apple’s human-interface chief Greg Christie revealed the company’s plans for the first iPhone. Apple originally considered an always-on device that locked but never shut off entirely. Eventually Apple realized the screen would need to go dark to conserve battery life. “We couldn’t meet our power requirements if we had that active a state,” he said. “We had to resort to a power button.”

Apple also considered releasing the phone without any lockscreen at all, but worried that would cause the owner to send accidental emails and phone calls. The solution was swipe-to-unlock, which Apple claims was eventually ripped off by Samsung. Christie noted that swipe-to-unlock is an important feature, not just because of its function but because it’s the first thing you see when you pick up an iPhone.

The purpose of Christie’s testimony, of course, was to demonstrate how Apple was the first to come up with the slide-to-unlock feature. Cupertino’s case focuses on five key patents covering the aforementioned function, AutoCorrect, universal search, automatic links for dates and email addresses in text, and the ability to sync your device while it’s in use. Why Apple chose these five patents is unclear, though perhaps the company thinks it can prove without a doubt that it owns the rights to all five.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...


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