A few patents have come Apple’s way, filed around the time of the original iPhone. They concern the “slide to unlock” screen and the way that characters on the keyboard jump up when you hit them. As usual, the patent process took a few years, and during those years, variations of these now-patented processes have appeared which will now almost certainly see some legal challenges. Does “slide to unlock” cover the Galaxy series’ lock screen, which is like sliding away a pane of glass? What about the Zune HD lock screen, which is like raising a garage door? What of WinMo 6.5, which (IIRC) let you slide different sliders to go straight to different apps?
The pop-up letters, too, have their variations. Does the letter have to be connected to itself to infringe? Can it be a little off-center?
The next few months will show whether Apple wants to take similar implementations to court, or whether this truly was a defensive patent, designed to prevent people from direct imitation — as opposed to aping.