Yesterday in the US Patent and Trademark Office database surfaced an interesting Apple patent providing a glimpse of an exciting software feature that could be possibly used to enhance the user interface for handling apps that multitask on an iPad.

Originally filed in the third quarter of 2009 and entitled “Device, method, and graphical user interface for manipulating workspace views”, the patent application describes methods for solving cumbersome and inefficient moving of one or more windows between workspaces, or seeing several workspace views simultaneously. Read on for more juicy details…


One embodiment specifically describes this feature on a multitouch-equipped tablet device. According to PatentlyApple, the Spaces-like capability could be invoked with a two-finger pinching gesture in a specific location. Alternatively, a five-finger pinching or tapping gesture could be used to bring a Spaces-like workspace switcher.

Apple often submits patent applications that never get used in real products, just like many other technology companies, but this is something that would definitely enhance the iPad’s usefulness and reduce the time spent switching between apps.

The patent isn’t limited to tablets like iPad – a bunch of embodiments make mention of various gadgets, ranging from a computer and a touch screen display to a handheld device. Apple names engineers Duncan Kerr, Julian Missig, Jonathan Koch, Avi Cieplinski, Michael Victor, Jeff Bernstein and Myra Haggerty as the brains behind this feature.

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