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Apple exploring graphics-driven iPhone menu interfaces for contacts, music

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Selecting contacts or music on an iPhone in the future could rely less on scrolling through plain black-and-white text and instead could feature more visually appealing graphical elements and support for multi-touch gestures.

Apple's interest in spicing up the iOS mobile operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch was revealed this week in a patent application made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing, entitled "Segmented Graphical Representations for Recommending Elements" and discovered by AppleInsider, describes a more engaging way of browsing content and scrolling through a list on a mobile device.

The application notes that today's portable devices, like the iPhone, have large storage capacities to hold huge amounts of music and other data. In addition, many users have hundreds of contacts stored on their handset.

"Current portable electronic devices, however, are limited in their ability to present information to users," the application reads. "For example, portable electronic devices commonly have limited interfaces for presenting users' music collections or for recommending songs for purchase. These electronic devices may display music collections or recommendations using textual lists of songs."

Apple's solution relies on "segmented graphical representations of elements," or content on an iPhone. It notes that a new graphical interface could be used to present users with songs or address book contacts.

In one example, contacts could be presented with provided pictures of people, represented with a number of tiles on the screen. Contacts or music could also be shown with a dynamically generated mosaic, collecting a number of associated pictures.

Graphics could be created on an iOS device using a "seed element," such as a song currently playing or the individual that the user is currently on a telephone call with.



With respect to contacts, Apple states that the proposed invention could make it easier for users to sort through people in their address book. For example, contacts who work for the same company could automatically be grouped together and represented by the same image -- perhaps the company's logo.

"Unlike an alphabetically organized address book, this interface may allow [the] electronic device... to provide an address book that is intuitive to the user, and may enable a user to quickly call a number of users from the same contact group in succession," the application reads.



The filing also notes that this new graphical interface could be enhanced through the use of multi-touch gestures on the iPhone. For example, a user could "pinch in" with two fingers on a piece of onscreen album artwork to select it, while the reverse "pinch out" gesture would navigate backward to the previous menu.

The proposed invention, made public this week by the USPTO, was first filed in September of 2009. It is credited to Taido Nakajima and Pareet Rahul.
post #2 of 25
One UI improvement I'd like to see would be the ability to flip through pages or multiple screens with an action initiated by the user that would mirror the physical counterpart. Pressing a thumb down on the touchscreen on the far left or far right, then tilting the device to initiate a rifiling through book pages or multiple screens... accompanied with a sound like pages flipping, or a deck of cards being flipped through. Give me credit and a cut of the patent when you file for this one Apple.

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post #3 of 25
^ No patent for you. Acer beat ya to it.

But believe me... you don't want the patent anyway. Clunky, cumbersome, and hardly desirable for something that can only represent images in a two-dimensional space.

Maybe when we get curved or flexible screens.
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

One UI improvement I'd like to see would be the ability to flip through pages or multiple screens with an action initiated by the user that would mirror the physical counterpart. Pressing a thumb down on the touchscreen on the far left or far right, then tilting the device to initiate a rifiling through book pages or multiple screens... accompanied with a sound like pages flipping, or a deck of cards being flipped through. Give me credit and a cut of the patent when you file for this one Apple.


Excellent idea!

I keep thinking CoverFlow is the secret to navigation on touch devices.

I have been playing with an hierarchical version, say for music:

The top level would be "covers" -- pictures of Artists

The next level albums, then songs, etc.

The Rim PlayBook uses something similar for navigating active tasks.


I think this "Mosaic" idea, combined with CoverFlow has some real possibilities.


Two problems:

1) The Apple CoverFlow Framework is a Private framework -- not available to developers

2) CoverFlow takes some graphics powerr and, likely, battery power.


Apple could Implement this with real tight code tied directly to the hardware to mitigate the "power" issue.


I think I like it!

... then there is this whole "FlipBBoard UI" thing -- that could provide a user-customizable UI...

.
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post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

One UI improvement I'd like to see would be the ability to flip through pages or multiple screens with an action initiated by the user that would mirror the physical counterpart. Pressing a thumb down on the touchscreen on the far left or far right, then tilting the device to initiate a rifiling through book pages or multiple screens... accompanied with a sound like pages flipping, or a deck of cards being flipped through. Give me credit and a cut of the patent when you file for this one Apple.

I love it.
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post #6 of 25
I see tie-ins to Ping coming. ugh.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

One UI improvement I'd like to see would be the ability to flip through pages or multiple screens with an action initiated by the user that would mirror the physical counterpart. Pressing a thumb down on the touchscreen on the far left or far right, then tilting the device to initiate a rifiling through book pages or multiple screens... accompanied with a sound like pages flipping, or a deck of cards being flipped through. Give me credit and a cut of the patent when you file for this one Apple.

You forgot the irony tag. If you really wanted an electronic device to emulate the "physical counterpart" that closely (as opposed to providing you with easier novel ways to achieve the same tasks), then you should have stuck with books. Or, perhaps, stone tablets...
post #8 of 25
Seems like there's an awful lot of "may's in this application. The interface "may" allow you to do something. I was under the impression that a patent application was supposed to be about something specific. This seems more generalized. Not sure how enforceable it may be.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacrilegend View Post

No patent for you. Acer beat ya to it.

But believe me... you don't want the patent anyway. Clunky, cumbersome, and hardly desirable for something that can only represent images in a two-dimensional space.

Maybe when we get curved or flexible screens.

You're right, that demo is cringe-inducing. In general I think actions that are accelerometer based are more flakey and frustrating than touch based ones. For example read your email while semi-reclining on a bed and the phone sometimes switches to landscape mode seemingly randomly. Try to play accelerator based games while riding in a car; then the driver turns the phone interprets that as input.
post #10 of 25
Sounds an awful lot like what HTC has been doing for years with their SENSE UI on Android devices, which is all good and well, but what the iOS development team needs to focus on is the platform's abysmal notifications system.
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #11 of 25
How about fixing the current UI problem on both Mac and iOS relating to album artwork or contact pictures?

The whole idea of this patent seems moo*, unless the artwork actually loads before you see it. Can't begin to describe how amateur it feels scrolling through iTunes, iOS iPod, iOS App Store, etc...when icons take their sweet time to load.



*moo: a cow's opinion; worthless
post #12 of 25
post #13 of 25
Didn't M$ get there first with their phone? I seem to remember that that one had lots of tiles. Of course no one has ever seen a M$ phone so we will never know.
post #14 of 25
I would like to see something along the lines of Safari's new start screen grid thingy for phone contacts.
I like the way Safari learns what sites you visit and generates a thumbnail grid for you
It would be nice if the iPhone learned who you call frequently and generated a favorites list based on that.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sacrilegend View Post

No patent for you. Acer beat ya to it.

But believe me... you don't want the patent anyway. Clunky, cumbersome, and hardly desirable for something that can only represent images in a two-dimensional space.

Maybe when we get curved or flexible screens.

IMO you should be banned just for posting this.

A Flash file, with a f*cking advertisement no less, that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic, or the patent being discussed. I'm just undecided as to whether you are being mean, ignorant, or just incompetent by posting it.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

How about fixing the current UI problem on both Mac and iOS relating to album artwork or contact pictures?

The whole idea of this patent seems moo*, unless the artwork actually loads before you see it. Can't begin to describe how amateur it feels scrolling through iTunes, iOS iPod, iOS App Store, etc...when icons take their sweet time to load.



*moo: a cow's opinion; worthless

Ya' know...

I've wondered about that too.

It is not too difficult to pre-load a CoverFlow Structure with a couple of screens worth of CoverFlow images -- so you can immediately begin scrolling. Then, in another thread, append additional cover images to the ends of the CoverFlow structure as needed,

The CoverFlow framework is private, so you can't (readily) see what capabilities are available.

However, using an approximation of CoverFlow it is possible to pre-load a CoverFlow structure of, say 35 covers, render the 3D images, render the 3D reflections and display the 1st section of 7 covers -- in a fraction of a second on A4 (iP4 or iPad 1) hardware.

So you have 4 or 5 screen loads -- depending on how fast you swipe. It should be fairly simple to "flesh out" the CoverFlow struct, in another thread, with no noticeable delay in the UI.

On the A5 with it dual-duallies it should be a piece of cake.

.
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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdPrize View Post

Didn't M$ get there first with their phone? I seem to remember that that one had lots of tiles. Of course no one has ever seen a M$ phone so we will never know.

Their graphic interface is pretty nice EXCEPT that it's only nice when you actually have the associated graphics (photos attached to contacts, album jackets, etc.), which is also the problem with Apple's supposed patent.

Almost no one I know has photos associated with their iPhone contacts. I think I have about 500 contacts and less than 10 have photos. And maybe half of my music has artwork associated with it, but with music, either I know the artist, song or album I want and searching/scrolling is already the best method I can think of to access it or, I simply have it on Shuffle anyway, which is what I do 95% of the time, so access is irrelevant.

If Apple can come up with a better method, I'm open, but I actually think this is wasted effort that can be better spent elsewhere.

What I would like in the photo library is the ability to create my own multiple albums and to reorder the photos within an album directly on the phone.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

IMO you should be banned just for posting this.

A Flash file, with a f*cking advertisement no less, that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic, or the patent being discussed. I'm just undecided as to whether you are being mean, ignorant, or just incompetent by posting it.

Er.

Rather than get into a my-Internet-penis-is-bigger-than-your-Internet-penis debate, I'll simply invite you to use context clues (maybe a fistful o' Valium, too), and to always remember, follow the chain of discussion.

Mine was a reply to the commenter above my initial post. I didn't feel the need to quote him, as it was the post before mine, and the only one at that.

If I sound condescending it's only because at least one other commenter in this thread got to whom my reply was directed. I'll be certain to be clearer next time, as I wouldn't want to be the cause of anyone having an aneurysm on these boards. Heavens.
post #19 of 25
Um... Kind of like... Windows Phone 7?
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yours Smugly View Post

Um... Kind of like... Windows Phone 7?

No. Go back and read the article.
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post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

I would like to see something along the lines of Safari's new start screen grid thingy for phone contacts.
I like the way Safari learns what sites you visit and generates a thumbnail grid for you
It would be nice if the iPhone learned who you call frequently and generated a favorites list based on that.

lol you just described the contact hub in windows phone 7
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

Their graphic interface is pretty nice EXCEPT that it's only nice when you actually have the associated graphics (photos attached to contacts, album jackets, etc.), which is also the problem with Apple's supposed patent.

Almost no one I know has photos associated with their iPhone contacts. I think I have about 500 contacts and less than 10 have photos. And maybe half of my music has artwork associated with it, but with music, either I know the artist, song or album I want and searching/scrolling is already the best method I can think of to access it or, I simply have it on Shuffle anyway, which is what I do 95% of the time, so access is irrelevant.

If Apple can come up with a better method, I'm open, but I actually think this is wasted effort that can be better spent elsewhere.

What I would like in the photo library is the ability to create my own multiple albums and to reorder the photos within an album directly on the phone.

They could do the wp7 approach and get the photos from facebook
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post

They could do the wp7 approach and get the photos from facebook

The Facebook app does this in iOS. The majority of my contacts have photos from fb
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yours Smugly View Post

Um... Kind of like... Windows Phone 7?

It's partially the same, but certainly not a direct copy.


In one example, contacts could be presented with provided pictures of people, represented with a number of tiles on the screen. Contacts or music could also be shown with a dynamically generated mosaic, collecting a number of associated pictures. Graphics could be created on an iOS device using a "seed element," such as a song currently playing or the individual that the user is currently on a telephone call with. Is basically the people hub and pinned contacts.


For example, contacts who work for the same company could automatically be grouped together and represented by the same image -- perhaps the company's logo. Is the bit that is different. Dynamically grouping data based on similar fields sounds like a pivot table, but pivots require you to swipe - not click a picture or use a multitouch gesture to access them.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Excellent idea!

I keep thinking CoverFlow is the secret to navigation on touch devices.

I have been playing with an hierarchical version, say for music:

The top level would be "covers" -- pictures of Artists

The next level albums, then songs, etc.

The Rim PlayBook uses something similar for navigating active tasks.


I think this "Mosaic" idea, combined with CoverFlow has some real possibilities.


Two problems:

1) The Apple CoverFlow Framework is a Private framework -- not available to developers

2) CoverFlow takes some graphics powerr and, likely, battery power.


Apple could Implement this with real tight code tied directly to the hardware to mitigate the "power" issue.


I think I like it!

... then there is this whole "FlipBBoard UI" thing -- that could provide a user-customizable UI...

.

Thanks.

I love seeing more natural motions (those that we use almost unconsciously) incorporated into UI and app functionality.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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