“BOOM!” That’s what Steve Jobs said when he demoed the Slide to Unlock gesture on the iPhone in January of 2007. Whether you’re on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you always have to slide your finger across that slider to get past the Lock screen. It’s become a staple aspect of iOS and Apple’s mobile products.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office granted Apple the patent for Slide to Unlock today. This means that no other company can use the gesture without infringing on Apple’s new patent. Boom.
The patent document explains:
A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture. In addition, there is a need for sensory feedback to the user regarding progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition that is required for the transition to occur.
There have been murmurs that Apple will eventually implement Android’s customizable gesture unlock method for customers. Jailbreakers have been able to change and remove the Slide to Unlock aspect of the Lock screen for years. But it seems fairly unlikely: Apple favors simple, single solutions instead of complexity born from user adjustability, and Slide to Unlock just works so well.
Would you like to see more options for unlocking your iOS device? Customizable gestures? Fingerprint scans? Tell us your crazy ideas below!