Recent Steve Jobs patent filing for dynamic icons shows inventive spirit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
As a prolific innovator and hands-on leader, Steve Jobs's influence was felt in every aspect of Apple's products, as evidenced by a recent patent application credited to him designed to stop users from inadvertently starting an operation on a computer.



The application for "Three State Icon for Operations" was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office less than a year ago, and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is listed as one of the concept's two inventors. It stands as Jobs' most recent patent filing, and one of more than 300 inventions he leaves behind.



The proposed invention describes a dynamic context-sensitive software icon or button that would be presented to users in different fashions. By doing this, an application could help prevent a user from accidentally initiating a task on their computer.



The filing notes that users sometimes engage in activities on their computer that cannot be stopped once they are started, like formatting a disk. In another example, if a system starts burning data to a DVD-ROM or CD-ROM, the operation cannot be stopped without ruining the disc, as the data cannot be rewritten.



"Initiating an improper operation on the computer can be costly in terms of both time and money," the document reads. "Recording medium may be recordable only once such that if a mistake is made while recording, then the medium will not be reusable."



Computer applications will avoid this issue by presenting a dialog box to users, asking them to confirm that they wish to proceed. But Apple's filing and the application credited to Jobs note that this is an additional step for the user that they believe is unnecessary.







Jobs's solution, as presented in the solution, is for a dynamic icon that would present itself in three states. By default, the icon would be displayed in a "protective state," but then could be selected to activated to change it to a second state.



The initial selection of the icon will not perform any action, but will instead simply change the icon to the second state. This method gives a pause, and allows the user to verify that they want to initiate the activity, and would help to prevent accidentally starting an operation.



"When the operation is proceeding on the computer, the icon will revert to a third state to show that the function is proceeding as desired," the filing reads.



Apple represents the concept in its filing with an icon designed like a camera aperture or iris. In its initial, "safety" state, the iris is closed.







Pressing the button with a mouse click or finger tap would then open the iris to display a new icon similar to a radioactive symbol. With the aperture opened, users could then select the icon in its second state to begin the operation.



The icon could then spin to indicate that the operation was underway. If the task is burning a DVD, the button could show a DVD logo when the operation has been completed.



The proposed invention was filed with the USPTO by Apple in July of 2010, and the document was made public that November. Jobs shares credit for the invention with Timothy Wasko.
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Comments

  • s4mb4s4mb4 Posts: 267member
    could ruin a DVD, but never a Blue Ray on a Mac....
  • dan.blancharddan.blanchard Posts: 10member
    Isn't this exactly what iTunes has been doing for CD burning for a very long time?



    As shown in this tutorial for iTunes 6.0.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,989member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post


    could ruin a DVD, but never a Blue Ray on a Mac....



    Other than the obvious fact that you can burn Blu-ray discs using OS X.
  • s4mb4s4mb4 Posts: 267member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Other than the obvious fact that you can burn Blu-ray discs using OS X.



    its only obvious if i buy an external Blu Ray burner
  • ikolikol Posts: 369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Other than the obvious fact that you can burn Blu-ray discs using OS X.



    <scratch>

    mustn't take the bait- not today
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,989member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post


    its only obvious if i buy an external Blu Ray burner



    Or internal. You're acting as though there's a point to having Blu-ray and a desire to pay $300 more per computer to have it, which confuses me.
  • airnerdairnerd Posts: 222member
    I must be too stupid to get this filing. Isn't it like a double click? Click once, it highlights. Click again, it runs. If that is too much, then a the popup that Apple thinks is not needed. Instead you are going to force users to wait for the icon to change?
  • ikolikol Posts: 369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Or internal. You're acting as though there's a point to having Blu-ray and a desire to pay $300 more per computer to have it, which confuses me.



    Mustn't take the bait- (it's killing me)

    No, mustn't.
  • kenlileskenliles Posts: 28member
    are you guys really talking about what the patent is and does?



    This is demonstrative to SJ was active involvement in even these details even just recently...

    geezzz...
  • aaplconvertaaplconvert Posts: 1member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post


    I must be too stupid to get this filing. Isn't it like a double click? Click once, it highlights. Click again, it runs. If that is too much, then a the popup that Apple thinks is not needed. Instead you are going to force users to wait for the icon to change?



    I agree. This action still requires a "commitment click." Not a fundamental improvement if you ask me.
  • ikolikol Posts: 369member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AAPLConvert View Post


    I agree. This action still requires a "commitment click." Not a fundamental improvement if you ask me.



    But nice if you have the option to turn it on or off like all the Lion craziness -especially for grandmapa or someone prone to hitting the dock repeatedly.
  • banalltvbanalltv Posts: 238member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...if a system starts burning data to a DVD-ROM or CD-ROM, the operation cannot be stopped without ruining the disc ... Recording medium may be recordable only once such that if a mistake is made while recording, then the medium will not be reusable.



    So maybe they don't intend eliminating cds and dvds just yet.
  • freelander51freelander51 Posts: 244member
    Now why does this strike me as very similar to double clicking, just with a longer delay ?
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post


    I must be too stupid to get this filing. Isn't it like a double click? Click once, it highlights. Click again, it runs. ...



    This is nothing like a double click. This is two separate clicks that do two separate things. A double click is the opposite of this.
  • jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,927member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freelander51 View Post


    Now why does this strike me as very similar to double clicking, just with a longer delay ?



    I don't know why it does. The fact that there is a strong visual indicator should be a cue that it's not the same thing.
  • hezetationhezetation Posts: 674member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post


    could ruin a DVD, but never a Blue Ray on a Mac....



    troll.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,989member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hezetation View Post


    troll.



    No, I'd say just poorly informed. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
  • hezetationhezetation Posts: 674member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AAPLConvert View Post


    I agree. This action still requires a "commitment click." Not a fundamental improvement if you ask me.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post


    I must be too stupid to get this filing. Isn't it like a double click? Click once, it highlights. Click again, it runs. If that is too much, then a the popup that Apple thinks is not needed. Instead you are going to force users to wait for the icon to change?



    Double click applies to opening applications, most buttons on apps are single click (such as printing or save). The idea here was that critical buttons that can have devastating results if clicked by accident would by more dynamic than just double clicking. First click actually changes the button from a disabled state to an enabled state. I know a few people who need this for the send button on e-mail.



    When you design a UI these subtleties are critical to the overall user feel of the system. You can have the most technologically advanced OS in the world, but if the UI is crap then no one will want to use it. Nuance is critical to functionality in more ways than you know.
  • jnjnjnjnjnjn Posts: 588member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post


    I must be too stupid to get this filing. Isn't it like a double click? Click once, it highlights. Click again, it runs. If that is too much, then a the popup that Apple thinks is not needed. Instead you are going to force users to wait for the icon to change?



    .25 seconds is hardly a wait. The changing icon is to reveal information to the user. Highlighting only indicates the location on the screen.

    The 'buy' button within the Apple store is an example of this, it indicates an irreversible action and gives extra information without popups.

    Very clean, from a use interface perspective.



    J.
  • hezetationhezetation Posts: 674member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    No, I'd say just poorly informed. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.



    Ok, possible troll.
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