Depending on who you speak to, Steve Jobs was a celebrated innovator, relentless collaborator, or a shameless limelight stealer. Irrespective of all that, his name was on more than 350 Apple patents. Given his keen eye for the tiniest of details, I am pretty sure his name wasn’t added just for ceremonial reasons.
A peep into some of the weirdest patents held by Apple will illustrate its thought process and futuristic approach towards technology. Some of the patents are creative, some radical, some strange and some ridiculous beyond measure. So much so, you’d feel the urge to cancel their license to patent anything at all.
Case in point – Apple has patented a futuristic POT! No, not the one you smoke, but the one you keep in your garden and plant things in. This pot looks a lot like the Mac Pro, but don’t take this to mean that Apple is going to release an iPlant anytime soon. What makes things even weirder is that they’ve also patented an incredibly specific arrangement of the pots. Don’t even ask me how I feel about this. We’re on the same torn page!
Moving on, Apple has also filed a patent for an iKey. Basically, they’ve patented the idea that your iPhone could unlock your home and car with a proximity-based PIN code system. It’s an excellent idea, and it’s sure to benefit robbers and thieves. Now, all they have to steal is your iPhone, and they have your house and car for free. Genius has its limits; stupidity has none. Seriously.
Apple has even secured a patent for their ‘slide-to-unlock‘ feature. Yup, sounds like just about any gesture to unlock a touch-screen device is in violation of this patent. So, all we can do is pray that we don’t hear from Apple’s lawyers, who are probably already half-way through filing the paperwork.
Guess what? Those glass staircases you see in some of the flagship Apple stores? Well, they’ve also been patented by Apple, along with the glass building exteriors and their glass tube buildings. Just because you have the right to file a patent doesn’t mean you should patent anything and everything. There is a limit to patenting. How jobless do you think the people at the Patent Office are!?
The list doesn’t end here, by the way. Ridiculous as it might seem, Apple has been granted the patent for artificially turning book pages in an e-reader application. So, now Apple officially owns digital page turning.
In 2011, Apple was granted a patent for a special kind of glove that could solve the problem of using a touch-screen device while protecting your hands from the cold weather. Heights of pampering. “Praan jaye par iPhone na jaye”!
Apple has patented a shake-to-print feature that allows you to open up print options just by shaking the iPhone. Now, try dancing to an iTune.
Apple has filed a patent for a solar-powered iPhone by integrating photocells into the touchscreen. What’s next, a hydro-powered iPhone?
Remember those plastic bags you get at the Apple store? Well, Apple just filed a patent for that too. Yep, that’s right. Apple holds a patent for a freaking plastic bad.
I understand that you need to protect your intellectual property; that you need to make sure the best of your ideas are not stolen and misused. That’s why the patent system exists. But surely, there needs to be a line between what can be categorized as “protecting intellectual property” and “self-obsessed tomfoolery”!!