With a lull in the battle of words between Google and Microsoft over patents held by tech giants, Apple has been granted 20 new ones, including patents that cover integrated touch screens and parts of the visual voice mail tool found on the iPhone. The full list is definitely on the technical side, including printed circuit boards, metadata processing, and a system for estimating where a computer is located to improve online shipping experiences.
New Apple Patents Cover Touch-screen, Voice Mail Tech
Of special interest though is one for an "integrated touch screen." The system, which Apple applied to patent in September, 2009 describes a way of stacking together touch-sensitive circuitry into the pixels of an LCD display to use "fewer parts and/or processing steps," as well as having the end result be "thinner, brighter, and require less power."
Perhaps a more interesting patent granted is the one for a "voicemail manager for (a) portable multifunction device." This one, which was filed for on June 28, 2007 (just a day ahead of the first iPhone's launch), details Apple's visual voice mail system, though particularly the option to pick a voice mail from a list and control its playback with a running counter.