Apple has been awarded a patent for touch-based displays on mobile devices. US patent number 7,966,578 describes a "computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, [that] comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display."
According to PC Mag, this can mean bad things for rival smartphone makers. They say that it could drive others out of the US market "entirely." We aren't specialists in the patent and trademark field, but we're not entirely sure how bad this is for other manufacturers. At worst, they may have to pay a licensing fee to Apple. However, it's not clear what the scope of this patent is. Many times, we will see patent applications filed and awarded, but they cover such specific components that it may not be as major as it seems.
Still, the patent is no doubt important. Even then, we've seen in the past that companies don't mind infringing on each others' patents. Apple and Samsung are duking it out right now over alleged patent infringement. Oh well, these things always end in a settlement anyway.