Apple Patentmania: 31 Years of Big Ideas

A visual history of Apple patent filings: the brilliant, the bizarre, the just plain bad.

By  |  Monday, December 15, 2008 at 1:19 am

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Apple may be famously secretive, but there’s one guy the company has been confiding in for more than three decades now. That would be its Uncle Sam, in the form of the U.S. Patent Office. The company’s patent filings are a remarkable record of Apple’s brainstorms, from its biggest blockbusters to its most humbling flops to concepts that never got off the drawing board. The thirty-eight images that follow include multiple examples of all of the above. Click on the filing dates, and you’ll go to the patents where the drawings originated, mostly at the indispensable and addictive Google Patents.

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