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Apple's Cover Flow-like 3D desktop UI uses tilt controls to peek around windows

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Apple is looking into a new desktop user interface that puts two- and three-dimensional application windows in a unique browsable "parade" view, much like the company's Cover Flow GUI used in iTunes and iOS apps.

3D GUI
Source: USPTO


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday awarded Apple U.S. Patent No. 8,560,960 for "Browsing and interacting with open windows," which at first blush appears to be a modified solution that brings Cover Flow to the desktop. Deeper in the document, however, is language describing a fresh take on usability that implements a secondary mode of input more akin to controls used in an iOS device.

According to the patent's detailed description, a user can tilt the computer to present the three-dimensional desktop "with a raised view level, such that desktop items behind the browsable parade are revealed." This action not only allows for a more immersive interactive experience, but increases viewable desktop space and aids in navigating the UI.

While the current OS X desktop is already somewhat "3D," with drop shadows and other graphical tricks providing an illusion of depth, Tuesday's invention further pushes these established boundaries.

A conventional desktop displays two-dimensional windows and icons on a substantially flat background. Users interact with these on-screen items via a given mode on input, such as clicking on a window to make it active. This means the visible area for presenting windows, icons, and other UI elements is constrained by the size of a device's screen.

3D GUI
Illustration of two-dimensional desktop environment.


As noted in the patent, 3D desktops offer more perceived space with the introduction of a z-axis, but manipulating graphical assets within these environments has proven too complex for previously proposed systems. Apple itself experimented with such techniques in the past, though the technology has yet to be applied to OS X.

To work around the hurdles, the invention proposes an operating system that can seamlessly switch between two-dimensional and three-dimensional environments. In two-dimensions, a user can invoke the familiar expose mode to see all open windows in a tiled view. Alternatively, in a three-dimensional environment, a user can invoke a Cover Flow or "parade" viewing mode, browsable by flipping through active windows.

3D GUI
Illustration of three-dimensional desktop space.


When in 3D mode, the individual application windows act much like their current OS X counterparts. For example, when a window is made active, that application's menu bar is provided directly below the system menu bar. Further, when new windows are opened, the UI places the assets in a stack that can be reshuffled, resized or moved by the user.

Aside from the Cover Flow capabilities, Apple's invention uses two inputs to control the window parade. This is accomplished with conventional computer inputs, like a mouse and keyboard, working in concert with tilt controls. While not specifically explained in the patent, tilting of a device can be recognized by an accelerometer, gyroscope, camera or any other suitable on-board sensor. Alternatively, a tilt command can be invoked via a special key combination or gesture.

3D GUI
Illustration of tilted three-dimensional desktop with active windows.


By tilting the three-dimensional desktop space, users can view an entire group of open windows in the parade from a higher view point. Content previously obscured by an active top window is made viewable, allowing users to select another window without cycling through all open assets.

It is unclear if Apple will implement the Cover Flow window invention in a future version of OS X, but a similar technique uses iOS device sensors to create the "parallax effect" seen in iOS 7.

Apple's three-dimensional GUI patent was first filed for in 2010 and credits Thomas Goossens and Fabrice Robinet as its inventors.
post #2 of 28
That is pretty neat. I also wonder if that would be something they would implement on Mac OS or if it is geared to iOS only. I guess we'll have to wait to find out.
post #3 of 28
iPad OS anyone?
post #4 of 28
iOS? err. the picture is of a Mac.

If they have a tabbed finder in Mavericks why not cover low the tabs? Sound like a great idea!
post #5 of 28
Apple has had a couple of interesting, but not ultimately useful, tries at a 3D UI before, going back as far as System 9. This looks much more useful. But the computer power available back them wasn't sufficient to do this.
post #6 of 28
It's different, again. They also were awarded a patent back in Feb (filed in 2007 & 2008):





source: http://www.patentlyapple.com/

and they have a worthy footnote:
Quote:
Readers should be aware that every Tuesday the US Patent and Trademark Office publish Apple's Granted Patents. Granted patents are approved patent applications that Apple applied for months or even years ago. In the vast majority of cases, "granted patents" aren't covering any new kind of technology on the day the patent is being granted. New Apple technologies are generally revealed on Thursdays by the US Patent Office in the form of published patent applications. Some Mac sites confuse this process by making claims and presenting bylines on Tuesday that insinuate that Apple has just revealed a new technology or process. In 99% of cases, this is simply untrue and readers should be made aware of this fact. Known exceptions would include patents that were recently acquired by Apple or a domestic and/or foreign patent application that Apple had never presented in the US before under its own brand name.
post #7 of 28

This is a rip off of Compiz in Linux. Been there done that. It's cool but requires a lot of horsepower.

post #8 of 28
I thought they were getting rid of Skeumorphism? These gimmicky toys are pretty useless in everyday use - I don't use Cover Flow in any way, shape or form. As a previous poster has said, it just creates a need for more horsepower without adding anything useful. To me that just makes it stupid.

As for practical implications, imagine sitting on a train with a laptop perched on your lap, jiggling all over the place; or even the laptop on a table but on one of those tilting trains that lean into corners, thus activating a tilt mechanism on the laptop so you are constantly flicking between 2D and 3D views...

I do wish Apple would focus on useful features again.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

[^ post]

1) It's a patent, not a product.

2) Knowing Apple, they test these things for various scenarios.

3) When did they stop focussing on useful features?
post #10 of 28
Coverflow in iTunes? Uhm that feature was obsoleted with 11.0 in case you haven't noticed
post #11 of 28
Safari in iOS 7 does this.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Safari in iOS 7 does this.

And iTunes, much to my dismay.
post #13 of 28
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
This is a rip off

 

Obviously your statement is patently false (no pun intended), because HERE’S A PATENT THEY’VE BEEN GRANTED THAT STATES OTHERWISE.

 

Geez, how stupid a statement can you make? And no, that’s not a challenge.

 

Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post
gimmicky toys

 

Man, multitouch… what a gimmick, eh?

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

This is a rip off of Compiz in Linux. Been there done that. It's cool but requires a lot of horsepower.

Which is also likely a rip off on Sun's Project Looking Glass http://www.freedesktop.org/software/XDevConf/LG-Xdevconf.pdf
post #15 of 28

Two words: Compiz, Linux.

post #16 of 28
Originally Posted by Connie View Post
Two words: Compiz, Linux.

 

Two words: Look up.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

I thought they were getting rid of Skeumorphism? These gimmicky toys are pretty useless in everyday use - I don't use Cover Flow in any way, shape or form. As a previous poster has said, it just creates a need for more horsepower without adding anything useful. To me that just makes it stupid.

As for practical implications, imagine sitting on a train with a laptop perched on your lap, jiggling all over the place; or even the laptop on a table but on one of those tilting trains that lean into corners, thus activating a tilt mechanism on the laptop so you are constantly flicking between 2D and 3D views...

I do wish Apple would focus on useful features again.

The full range of practical use cases. Everything from trains to tilting trains.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
 Readers should be aware that every Tuesday the US Patent and Trademark Office publish Apple's Granted Patents Samsung's R&D papers. 

 

Fixed it for you. /s 

post #19 of 28
Gimmicky if you ask me. Doesn't Windows 7 do something similar? Meh...

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Ten years ago, we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.  Today we have no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash.

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post #20 of 28
Quote:
Gimmicky if you ask me. Doesn't Windows 7 do something similar? Meh...

 

Windows Vista and 7 had "Flip 3D", which looks similar..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_Vista#Windows_Flip_and_Flip_3D

 

Its been pulled from Windows 8 though - can't say I miss it! lol

post #21 of 28
Maybe iWatch will provide the tilt??
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Two words: Look up.

I am looking up, and all I see is Compiz, Linux.

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Connie View Post

I am looking up, and all I see is Compiz, Linux.

http://www.freedesktop.org/software/XDevConf/LG-Xdevconf.pdf
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SwissMac2 View Post

I thought they were getting rid of Skeumorphism? These gimmicky toys are pretty useless in everyday use - I don't use Cover Flow in any way, shape or form. As a previous poster has said, it just creates a need for more horsepower without adding anything useful. To me that just makes it stupid.
 

I use Cover Flow all the time. You might not have a use for it but others certainly do.

 

He is my scenario: I reuse a lot of graphic elements from one document to the next. Say I have a brochure that links to dozens of image files. I remember using a particular image in that brochure and now I need to find it again to use in a different document. Instead of opening the large brochure or Adobe Bridge to find it, or using Quick Look one image at a time, with Cover Flow, I can shuffle through the Links folder in seconds and find the one I want. If you do not reuse a lot of images I can see why you don't need it, but I find it very valuable. I'm not sure how useful shuffling through a bunch of different application windows would be as most major applications that I use have tabbed interfaces anyway.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Obviously your statement is patently false (no pun intended), because HERE’S A PATENT THEY’VE BEEN GRANTED THAT STATES OTHERWISE.

 

Geez, how stupid a statement can you make? And no, that’s not a challenge.

 

 

Man, multitouch… what a gimmick, eh?


Your zealotry is so amusing, yet your logic and understanding are so..... underwhelming, disappointing even. Just because some company gets a patent on something doesn't mean they originated it. Often in the patent world it is a race to see who can get it through the system first and also who has the money to do it. Clever writing is a big part of patent applications. Just wording something the right way can decide whether a patent is granted or not. I can't explain why the originators of this concept didn't bother to get a patent on it. Maybe they had a bad patent writer. Maybe it was a lack of money. Maybe the project died before the patent phase occurred.

 

Clearly others had this concept working years before Apple. Ideas are often stolen in the business world. It seems that Apple isn't above it.

 

You've now had several people site sources for such desktop arrangements that pre-dated the patent and you still made this statement. :(  You would make a great cult follower because you, Tallest Skil, are a true believer. You would swallow the Kool Aid (thought they actually used a different brand).

 

Typed on my HP machine running GNU/Linux with Compiz.

post #26 of 28
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Typed on my HP machine running GNU/Linux with Compiz.

 

lol.

Originally Posted by Feynman View Post
Which is also likely a rip off on Sun's Project Looking Glass http://www.freedesktop.org/software/XDevConf/LG-Xdevconf.pdf

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

lol.


Yes I see that another group had these effects before Compiz. The difference is that Compiz is free and if Apple does it the program will be part of a commercial product.

post #28 of 28
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
difference

 

Keep moving those goalposts.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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