Apple’s Strange Patent: iPad GUI To Assign Virtual Mass To Files and Folders
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Monday granted Apple an interesting patent, which describes physics-based animations and interactions on the iPad that would translate files and folders into a virtual mass, facilitating intuitive user interactions.
Named as “Graphical objects that respond to touch or motion input,” the patent was originally filed for in February 2010 by Nicholas V. King, Brett Bilbrey and Todd Benjamin. It describes the technology based on a system that more closely resembles the OS X GUI than it does to the current app-based iOS UX. Similar to a desktop arrangement of files and folders, for example, icons can be displayed in free space on a home screen.
However, the system uses touch as the primary form of input, instead of keyboard and mouse.
Apple’s invention basically allows for organic user interaction facilitated through graphical animations so that users could perform some advanced, yet intuitive, tasks. The document offers an example in which a user can draw a circle around a batch of icons with their finger. This would transform those icons into a floating sphere that appears detached from the backgroung UI making the icons active, or selected.
The OS can then assign a virtual weight to this floating sphere to make it move around using gestures, or the device motion. This physical attribute assigned to the files and folders make them respond to some interesting actions based on their data size. For example;
- A user can “pour” a group of files and folders from one device onto another to transfer assets via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
- Shaking the device would cause the icons on the screen to rearrange; the larger data files settle down at the bottom of a UI, while the smaller ones remain at the top.
- Even users can physically achieve file archiving: They would just pinch around an asset to shrink its graphical representation, which indicates that the file has been compressed.
Overall, the patent technology seems pretty interesting, and it appears Apple now wants to address the issue that mobile computing continue to face since its beginning. The iPhone maker aims at bringing it at par with the desktop version so that things like file arrangement and transfer would make sense in a mobile context.