Pinch? Swipe? How about “dig a hole” or “open the window”? Another round of Apple Inc filed patents have been published today by the US Patent & Trademark Office. The most interesting of the latest patents (via Patently Apple) is one focused on “advancing iOS metaphors to a higher level”. What does this mean exactly?
Essentially it would see iOS including a number of new interactive UI elements, many of which will replicate the experience of being able to “manipulate and organize various graphical objects”, similar to the desktop-like environment of “conventional personal computers” (OS X). In other words, Apple wants you to have more control over what you can do with elements within iOS, presumably to close the gap between what’s possible on OS X compared to current iOS builds… which also highly supports theories of iOS and OS X becoming one in the future.
Perhaps the most clear example of how these new UI elements might appear to the end user comes from the “Example Interactions Digging a Hole in a Device User Interface” section of the patent…
From Patently Apple:
Apple is always looking for new ways to distinguish iOS from the pack and today Apple introduces us to a number of new GUI gestures and metaphors that are fun and Kooky – if not creatively insane. The first one describes the notion of “digging a hole” in your interface that will allow you to drop a file into it quickly or act as a garbage bin or other uses.
Apple also described a number of other interactions similar to “digging a hole” including opening a trap door or window via gestures.
The image above shows a section of the patent describing the ability to create a 3D globe by circling various elements, as well as the ability to “pour” files from one device to another. We’ve seen similar functionality in other apps and operating systems, but these are definitely two features that could highly benefit iOS as native features. Another interesting section of the patent that could easily be integrated into iOS in the near future is the ability to securely delete files by virtually shredding documents via a gesture (image below).