U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Grants Apple iTunes User Interface Patent
Apple was recently awarded a long-awaited patent regarding the user interface of the iTunes Store. The patent covers past applications covering how a user browses, searches for, and purchases content. Patent 8.161.411 for a “Graphical user interface for browsing, searching, and presenting media items” comes in nearly 8 years after Apple originally filed the application in 2004. The main purpose of the patent being the description of iTunes as a standalone computer program that is able to organize, present, and sell media pulled from an off-site server in an intuitive and easy-to-use format.
The patent provides for a graphical UI in which windows and sub-windows display media classified by data sets, moving from a broad “genre” of categories to the more specific “artist” or “song name.” Here, Hyperlinks are used to move through the aggregated data and appear as lists through which a user can navigate. The information is parsed by rows, columns, and lists in different sub-windows within the main iTunes window, making it a clean and information-rich interface that has become the symbol of Apple’s online store.
Apple officially launched the iTunes Music Store in April 2003 and filed the patent a year late, claiming the invention of the program’s basic look and feel. It began leveraging the popularity of the iPod but now offers content to a variety of devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and even the Apple TV. With the increasing popularity of iOS devices, Apple’s iTunes seems to have become one of the world’s largest music stores and has served up over 16 billion songs and 25 billion apps so far.
Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office