Apple reportedly looking into 3D iOS UI elements based on ambient light

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
A future version of Apple's iOS could employ unique graphical user interface features that use input from a mobile device's ambient light sensor to cast shadows on app icons thus creating the illusion of a three-dimensional workspace.

The report from Buzzfeed (via The Next Web) notes that an unnamed Apple employee said upcoming iOS iterations could use the interesting trick to bring a higher level of realism and interactivity to the company's mobile operating system.

According to the source, the UI component will drop drop shadows under certain graphical assets in accordance with light detected by the phone's ambient light sensor. While this sounds intriguing, current iDevices are unlikely candidates for the technology as the sensor being used only detects incidental light, not directional. A possible workaround could be a combination of gyroscope, accelerometer and ambient light sensor, though the energy cost spent on crunching the sensors' data may outweigh the benefit of having an interactive UI.

There are many possibilities to bring the idea into reality, including specialized filters and entirely new sensors, though at this point there is no concrete evidence the feature is coming anytime soon.

The notion is just one of many small tweaks and minute details seen in the evolution of Apple's software. For example, some OS X applications feature text from the iconic "To the crazy ones" commercial that only eagle-eyed users would spot. The company's attention to detail is also found in iOS apps like Maps which shows a stylized aerial view of Apple's Cupertino campus.

Apple's attention to detail can be seen in an upcoming iOS 6 design element that uses an iDevice's gyroscope to change the perceived reflections on the Music app's radio buttons according to how the handset is being held.




Source: Gizmodo

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
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  • Reply 2 of 13
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,766member


    I'm pretty sure I read about this months ago... wasn't there a patent issued on this?

  • Reply 3 of 13
    tipootipoo Posts: 936member


    Ambient light sensors universally suck as it is, yet they can do this? I guess they could have multiple sensors on different parts of the phone but that's added cost for something that would amuse you for all of six seconds. 

  • Reply 4 of 13


    Oooh. Eye candy.


    Like the brushed metal buttons that shift "reflection" based on the accelerometer.


     


    Its all about creating an immersive experience. Clever ... but will it ever beat the <blink>tag</blink>

  • Reply 5 of 13
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member


    This all seems to me as fitting in the category of "easter egg development". Stack Overflow has a question about that. Answers go along the lines of "people don't pay for hidden features and 'eyeblinks' unless you're making a game".

     

  • Reply 6 of 13


    Wonderful UX design concept, but wouldn't that be a battery drain?

     

  • Reply 7 of 13
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,399member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    This all seems to me as fitting in the category of "easter egg development". Stack Overflow has a question about that. Answers go along the lines of "people don't pay for hidden features and 'eyeblinks' unless you're making a game".

     



     


    And this is noteworthy because Stack Overflow's writers and contributors know a lot more about what people are willing to pay for than Apple?

  • Reply 8 of 13
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,178moderator
    They could use the front-facing camera to detect the light direction but it certainly would be wasteful on the battery. Maybe not too much though as it can have a reduced sample rate and it's not as bad as Facetime as it's not sending data constantly over the network. The A5X is supposed to improve battery life so they could waste the gains on some fancy UI. As long as you can turn it off, there's no harm done.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    alanmooalanmoo Posts: 1member


    Couple this with haptic display technology like what Senseg is doing, and you could get some really interesting interfaces from a piece of glass.

  • Reply 10 of 13
    rtm135rtm135 Posts: 310member


    Springboard is beyond stale at this point.  iOS7 needs to innovate something new.  Same goes for OSX's Finder.

  • Reply 11 of 13
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    rtm135 wrote: »
    Springboard is beyond stale at this point.  iOS7 needs to innovate something new.  Same goes for OSX's Finder.

    Except no and no.

    That was simple…
  • Reply 12 of 13
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by freediverx View Post


     


    And this is noteworthy because Stack Overflow's writers and contributors know a lot more about what people are willing to pay for than Apple?



    That's an interesting point of view, but how to say so...


     


    Basically, there are LOTS of things I'm unhappy with in my iPhone. maybe I'm just asking too much from Apple. Maybe I've been pampered by an innovative company for so long I've forgotten how "the real world" works. However I'm a software guy, and I've been told Apple puts the emphasis on usability (and it's even a fact). I therefore expect Apple to solve existing issues BEFORE it uses $$$ to develop a freaking moving shadow. 


     


    That development time could be used to solve issues. You are right, sir, when you say it may be more profitable for Apple to develop a moving shadow, if that's what makes most people happy. Good for them, good for Apple. I would, PERSONALLY, rather have issues fixed. If that programmer that created a moving shadow had been assigned to the Mountain Lion team or to the Lion bugfixes team, or even to the Facetime team (remember Apple promised to open Facetime up, a few years ago, very soon? They seem to not have the human resources to keep that promise. Oh, I found a coder making shadows who could work on that instead, what luck... then I could Facetime with my sister who's got an Android and a Windows and a job as a part-time secretary who won't buy a Mac anytime soon because she needs to eat sometimes in her life)


     


    Point is, maybe I'm a bizarre person who demands too much (bug fixes? issues fixes? promises kept? why rate that as more important than moving shadows...), maybe I'm completely off the mark., but it still is what I want, and in the free world I can say so. In the end, I vote with my wallet, which probably means I'll get the next iPhone, but also with my words, and I just did so.


     


    With that, my dear friend of the internetz, I hope you understood my meaning and wish you a pleasant day!

  • Reply 13 of 13
    dona83dona83 Posts: 14member


    I wonder if the next iPhone is going with Quad Core processors, they're going to need it. lol. 

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