This is one of the problems with the patent system (yes, I know, everybody likes to say that). They are patenting the idea, not a process or design. For once Apple came up with a legitimately good idea, and they are almost certainly going to abuse it. If they want to patent the process or design, which was the intent of the patent system, it wouldn't be a problem....other companies would certainly develop the same concept with their own handsets (which wouldn't match the iphone design for a number of obvious reasons).
With so many companies backing down on certain patents in the name of not being purely despicable (ie. IBM), Apple should announce this one is a patent they will only hold in name only and demand no licensing.
If they insist on the licensing, I would love to see the hacker communities (xda & android probably the most capable) take a step to duplicate the functions. Even if Apple decides to do the wrong thing, there's no reason to allow them to hold an exclusive.