Second Apple patent filing du jour

Just in case one Apple patent filing wasn't enough for you, another one has just hit the internets -- filed April 26, 2005, and published on the US Patent & Trademark Office's site today. As always, the patent lays out in explicit and excruciating detail what Apple has in the pipeline. This time, it's a "hand held electronic device with multiple touch sensing devices." Not clear enough for you? If you scroll down far enough, you'll find reference to the possibility of merging of many electronic devices into a single device: "Each device 102 includes both hardware and software components 104 and 106, which are integrated into multi-functional hand-held device 100. It should be pointed out that the multi-functional hand-held device 100 is not limited to only two devices, and may in fact integrate any number of devices." The patent filing goes on to say: "By way of example, the portable electronic device may correspond to tablet PCs, PDAs, media players (music, images, video), game players, telephones, cellular phones, mobile radios, cameras, GPS modules, remote controls, and/or the like." So, in short, it'll be something between anything and everything. Now, invoking the WANL ("we are not lawyers") clause here, we're really scratching our heads at this one -- because if our scant knowledge of patent law is correct, it would seem that prior art would apply. That is to say that surely there are millions of devices out there that have a touchscreen and have multiple functions. Surely one of these patent lawyers has a Treo or a BlackBerry, no? Assuming that those brainiac Apple attorneys know what they're doing, this patent potentially paves the way for an an even awesomer touchscreen-based iPhone than the rumors we've already heard about, or other devices that may or may not have something to do with products to be unveiled next week -- so until then, run along now.

[Via CrunchGear and MacNN]