Want to clear the apps on your iPad? Just tilt it, and all those icons fall into a corner.
That kind of real-world movement could take place if Apple implements a new patent it was awarded yesterday.
U.S. Patent No. 8,839,150, entitled “Graphical objects that respond to touch or motion input,” brings the fun that game-based objects have been having to icons in your user interface.
Although the patent could be used for either OS X or iOS, it emphasizes touch and implies the use of accelerometers and gyroscopes. It describes using your finger to draw a circle around two-dimensional assets like a file, folder, e-book, or video, thus turning them into three-dimensional graphical objects.
Those graphical objects can then act as they might in the real world.
First, they get mass added to their properties. It’s derived from the size of the object, which appears to be based on their total file size, or it could be some other definition of size, such as their visual size. As in a video game, the graphical objects then respond to physical forces such as gravity, friction, or drag. A heavier object might move more slowly than a lighter one, for instance.
The patent also raises the possibility of a variety of unique interactions, such as moving a graphical object by physically moving the device.
A group of graphical objects could be “poured” into another connected device that is represented on the screen, for instance, falling from one to the other as they transfer. Shaking your device could sift the objects, causing heavier objects to sink to bottom. Pinching a graphical object could compress its assets.
The patent also specifies that “the visual appearance of graphical objects on the user interface can be adjusted to indicate the age of data” inside. Specifically mentioned are the ways that real objects age, by losing color, shine, or elasticity, as well as rusting. Developers should note that the patent does not rule out wrinkles.
Recently edited files could also be colored some shade of red to show they are “hot,” and older files can be blueish or “cold.”
The object’s age apparently could refer to the oldest data in the object — if you have a photo from ten years ago in an otherwise frequently updated folder, for instance. Or it might indicate how old the most recently updated asset is, so that saving a file in a folder refreshes its age profile.
So, if implemented, you might need to continually tend to each graphical object on your desktop. Like needy plants, you would rejuvenate them by showing attention. Otherwise, graphical objects on your device might wither away before your eyes.
Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »