The patient news was discovered and documented by the MIT Technology Review, who point out that the distinction for posthumous patent awarding might now be exactly what it may seem. While Jobs was indeed an innovator, often the placement of his name on a patent had to do with his work on smaller details of a design, fine tuning things others might not think about.
If you're interested in how patents work MIT Technology Review's article goes into some of the specifics of why patents like this are awarded, even after someone's death. In the meantime we're looking forward to seeing how many patents Steve Jobs will be able to collect this year while his soul is off watching from above.
Tim Wasko, who developed the interface for Apple's QuickTime player and the iPod, remembers that Jobs would give feedback on small details, and he'd often end up with a position on a patent. That's what Wasko says happened when he came up with a concept for a button used on software called iDVD. The button shuts like an iris, giving you a chance to interrupt a process. "It looked pretty cool so he loved that," says Wasko. "He had useful comments, suggestions, and it's worthy of him being on the patent."