Apple has been granted a total of 36 patents, including one pertaining to proximity detection for the iPhone and iPad.
The patents were approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and cover a wide range of technologies. The proximity sensor patent that was first filed in 2005 relates to technology detecting one or more touches. It is also able to differentiate whether the touches are light or hard, as well as offering other capabilities.
Apple was also granted a patent pertaining to electronic media devices and future active packaging, which allows power and data to be delivered to one or more electronic devices contained within the packaging. Another patent is a mounted shock sensor that allows an Apple Store Genius or technician to determine whether a damaged device was dropped.
Other patents predominately relate to features such as automatic image cropping, the reconstruction of lists in a document, and a haptics feedback system describing a virtual keyboard. Elsewhere, Apple was recently granted a patent for a 'smart shoe' that alerts you when it's worn down, a camera that automatically selects the best shot, and a network that uses sensors to track everything, including an individual. It also submitted a 122-page document to patent its store design.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has said the government is halfway from where it wants to be with patent reforms. In 2011, the smartphone industry spent $20 billion on patents, leading to -- for the first time in their history -- spending by both Apple and Google, surpassing their spending on research and development of new products. Apple's chief competitor, Samsung, lately emphasized that the iPhone maker's patent battles represents a loss for the industry and innovation.