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Recent Steve Jobs patent filing for dynamic icons shows inventive spirit

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
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.
post #2 of 39
could ruin a DVD, but never a Blue Ray on a Mac....
post #3 of 39
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.
post #4 of 39
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.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #5 of 39
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
post #6 of 39
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
post #7 of 39
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.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #8 of 39
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?
post #9 of 39
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.
post #10 of 39
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...
post #11 of 39
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.
post #12 of 39
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.
post #13 of 39
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.
post #14 of 39
Now why does this strike me as very similar to double clicking, just with a longer delay ?
post #15 of 39
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.
post #16 of 39
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.
post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

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

troll.
post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

troll.

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

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #19 of 39
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.
post #20 of 39
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.
post #21 of 39
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.
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

So maybe they don't intend eliminating cds and dvds just yet.

It's typical for patents to be approved long after a feature has actually been put to use. This icon has existed in disc burning apps for quite some time on OS X.
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

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.

Ok, that makes a little more sense. I wasn't making the disconnect from desktop to app.
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

troll.

No, I don't think so. It was just a little humorous quip, but today is not a good day for those types of remarks. Sure you can burn Blu-Rays on a Mac if you want to jump through hoops, but it is not natively supported and probably never will be especially in iTunes which is where the burn icon is currently displayed.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #25 of 39
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan.blanchard View Post

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.


Yes. This is a VERY old feature of iTunes disc burning. Possibly almost 10-years old. I wonder if it is still patentable after that long? Apparently I guess.
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

troll.

right back at ya.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

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

we all bow down to your greatness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

No, I don't think so. It was just a little humorous quip, but today is not a good day for those types of remarks. Sure you can burn Blu-Rays on a Mac if you want to jump through hoops, but it is not natively supported and probably never will be especially in iTunes which is where the burn icon is currently displayed.

indeed.
post #28 of 39
Give me a break, we were using tri-state buttons/icons in 1992 in windows 3.11.

State 1 - displays icon that releflects the operation
State 2 - displays icon that asks for confirmation
State 3 - displays icon that shows that the process is active

For examle, I wrote an app that acted like a dashboard and had an icon for shutting down the machine:

State 1: Icon looked like a lighted EXIT sign.
State 2: Icon flashed and became an EXIT sighn with a question mark.
State 3. Icon was greyed out

And this was MORE than 15 years ago.

Tri-state buttons have even been used on web pages more than 10 years. I created a page for managing users subscribed to a service years ago, and the "delete user" button was tri-state:

1. [ Delete User ]
2. [ <bold>Delete User?</bold> ] (reverted to state 1 if not clicked in 5 seconds)
3. [ <grey>Delete User</grey> ] (reverted to state 1 when operation was finished)

And yes, this was 8 to 10 years ago.

Yea, really inventive.
post #29 of 39
This would be great on Samsung's new tablet.
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

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.

I agree, this seems handy - so long as it's not used so pervasively that everyone gets used to "double tapping".

e.g., I agree it *could* be handy to have as a modification to an email "send" button - but in my experience when my company instituted an overlay asking "are you sure you want to reply all" every time you hit "reply all", people got so used to hitting enter (to select "yes") that it became reflexive ... and you'd wind up hitting enter before consciously registering that, No, Ooops, turns out I didn't want to "reply all" that time!
post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorgie View Post

Give me a break, we were using tri-state buttons/icons in 1992 in windows 3.11.

State 1 - displays icon that releflects the operation
State 2 - displays icon that asks for confirmation
State 3 - displays icon that shows that the process is active

For examle, I wrote an app that acted like a dashboard and had an icon for shutting down the machine:

State 1: Icon looked like a lighted EXIT sign.
State 2: Icon flashed and became an EXIT sighn with a question mark.
State 3. Icon was greyed out

And this was MORE than 15 years ago.

Tri-state buttons have even been used on web pages more than 10 years. I created a page for managing users subscribed to a service years ago, and the "delete user" button was tri-state:

1. [ Delete User ]
2. [ <bold>Delete User?</bold> ] (reverted to state 1 if not clicked in 5 seconds)
3. [ <grey>Delete User</grey> ] (reverted to state 1 when operation was finished)

And yes, this was 8 to 10 years ago.

Yea, really inventive.

Damn, I thought there was a smiley face for whiny crying.
post #32 of 39
It's the icon equivalent of that little glass cover they put over the red nuclear launch button (at least in movies) or the similar device on fighter jet joysticks.

I have no idea if or why that is patentable, but I appreciate that SPJ was a hands-on perfectionist who cared about little things that actually (collectively) mattered. Most of the advantages Macs have over Windows PCs are these subtle things that sound trivial if you discuss them in detail, but add up to a much more intuitive and pleasant user experience.
post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorgie View Post

For examle, I wrote an app that acted like a dashboard and had an icon for shutting down the machine:

State 1: Icon looked like a lighted EXIT sign.
State 2: Icon flashed and became an EXIT sighn with a question mark.
State 3. Icon was greyed out

And this was MORE than 15 years ago.

What did they shut down the Delphi insider forum?

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

I agree, this seems handy - so long as it's not used so pervasively that everyone gets used to "double tapping".

e.g., I agree it *could* be handy to have as a modification to an email "send" button - but in my experience when my company instituted an overlay asking "are you sure you want to reply all" every time you hit "reply all", people got so used to hitting enter (to select "yes") that it became reflexive ... and you'd wind up hitting enter before consciously registering that, No, Ooops, turns out I didn't want to "reply all" that time!

I agree this kind of setup should be used sparingly, software can be a pest. Sometimes it's necessary, but too many interruptions tend to water down the significance of the important ones.

For the email example, I think a more sensible route would be to hold it in the outbox for a set period of time, say one to five minutes, then send it without requesting confirmation. That gives you the time to think about your email without being pesky about it.
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

For the email example, I think a more sensible route would be to hold it in the outbox for a set period of time, say one to five minutes, then send it without requesting confirmation. That gives you the time to think about your email without being pesky about it.

You obviously aren't dealing with the sort of clients we have to deal with!
I think some of them would have a coronary if my emails were delayed 5 minutes... come to think of it, maybe that isn't such a bad idea...
post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

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

And (I'm finally glad to say) play Blu-ray discs too.

I have an external Lite-on BD drive, a 24" 3.06 intel core duo with 4gb and the trial download from www.macblurayplayer.com

I expected stutter but haven't had any issues as yet. Doesn't play everything but has played everything I have tried. Just out of beta and updated regularly.
post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

And (I'm finally glad to say) play Blu-ray discs too.

I have an external Lite-on BD drive, a 24" 3.06 intel core duo with 4gb and the trial download from www.macblurayplayer.com

I expected stutter but haven't had any issues as yet. Doesn't play everything but has played everything I have tried. Just out of beta and updated regularly.

If you don't want to pay for anything for playback, MakeMKV and VLC will do the same thing, albeit a touch convolutedly.

The best solution's just to rip the discs and rebuild them as a video file with HandBrake, but that's what I think.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

You obviously aren't dealing with the sort of clients we have to deal with!
I think some of them would have a coronary if my emails were delayed 5 minutes... come to think of it, maybe that isn't such a bad idea...

My idea of the concept would let the user decide how much delay, from zero to X minutes. I think one minute would work for me. I usually think of something I want to adjust five seconds after I click "send".

People having a cow over a five minute delay seems odd. Email is a medium in which you decide when you read it. It might be now, or it might be tomorrow.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by iKol View Post

Mustn't take the bait- (it's killing me) No, mustn't.

What bait? Blue ray? Hello, 90s called, they want their physical media back.

Forget f*n Blue ray, it was just a scheme of the content companies to sell you their catalog ONCE more, and to add even more idiotic DRM and protection measures this time.
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