Apple has recently been awarded 23 new patents, according to Patently Apple, which highlighted four of these in a recent article. The patents included in the article are for the iPhone 4 design, the 2009 compact wired keyboard, the second generation iPod, and the iChat video conference system.

They state the iPhone 4 patent covers the “consistent and aesthetically pleasing nitrided stainless steel components used (in) the current iPhone 4′s steel band.”

Initially released in 2003, iChat originally allowed video conferencing with just a single person. This patent covers the application’s ability to include multiple participants in a video conference. That feature was released later.

It is surprising these patents took so long to get approved. The second generation iPod in particular, which included a touch-sensitive wheel, was replaced in 2003.

Still, the patents now belong to Apple.