The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted
Apple a patent (number 8390582) related to a display with integrated touch. It's worth mentioning that Apple had introduced the integrated touch display with the iPhone 5. The technology allows the integration of touch sensor circuitry with a display unit. The patent was first spotted by Patently Apple
. Apple had originally filed the patent in 2009. Steven Porter Hotelling, Marduke Yousefpor, Shih Chang Chang and John Z. Zhong are listed as inventors of the technology.
Apple says that a display with integrated touch sensing capability allows use of fewer parts and/or processing steps, and the display itself might be thinner, brighter, and require less power. The patent also covers computers so Apple could make use of the technology if it ever decides to make a touch screen MacBook.
We've already seen the implementation of this display in the iPhone 5, which is also the reason for the phone's thinner form factor and light weight.
In addition to this patent, Apple has also been granted
a patent for 'Method for Fabricating Touch Sensor Panels', the iPad smart cover and for its Cinema Display.
Apple has said in the filing related to the method of fabrication of touch sensor panels, that existing methods of fabricating touch sensor panels require multiple printing steps during the litho/etch patterning process and the subsequent passivation process. So it aims to reduce the number of printing steps in the fabrication process to reduce the overall manufacturing cost of a touch sensor panel.
Apple clearly feels that patents are a key tool in ensuring that its products maintain a unique look and feel, and it hasn't been afraid to enforce them in the past again the likes of Samsung. The patent war between Apple and Samsung has taken place in some 10 countries, with victories and setbacks for either side, as they vie for market share in the booming mobile industry.