Looks as if a patent that Apple filed for back on April 11 of 2008 has finally been awarded to them on the 20th of this month!
Here's a copy of the patent. patent number 7,479,949
Patent goes a little something like this.
Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics
A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command. The one or more heuristics comprise: a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command, a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command, and a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a command to transition from displaying a respective item in a set of items to displaying a next item in the set of items.
I believe the original story broke and is credited here: http://news.worldofapple.com/archives/2009/01/26/apple-awarded-multi-touch-patent/
In any event, competition better be ready for war! *Cough*Pre*Cough*
This is just gonna get down low and dirty in the months ahead isn't it?
I love it!