Apple awarded dynamic 'hybrid cursor' utility patent

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a utility patent for the dynamically changing mouse cursor seen in previous Mac OS iterations as well as the current OS X Lion.

Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,230,366 for a "Dynamically Changing Cursor for User Interface" was first filed for in 2003 and covers the familiar contextualized Mac cursor perhaps most well known for its "spinning beach-ball of death" mode.

The utility patent describes functionality similar to that of Windows PC counterparts that turn the GUI's cursor into an hour glass when a program is "busy," but goes further by integrating system status information and functions like noting the number of files being moved in drag-and drop operations.

This "hybrid cursor," defined as a pointer arrow with a tail, not only serves the basic need of identifying on-screen location but also provides valuable information regarding the task at hand.

From the '366 patent abstract:
A dynamic cursor for a computer graphical user interface changes according to the processing state of applications over which the cursor is located, or with respect to an operating system element. A normal cursor is displayed when either the operating system element, or an application over which the cursor is located, can be accessed in a normal manner. A standard wait cursor is displayed over busy applications that require a user to wait until interacting with the application, when the application is active in the foreground of the computer system. When the application is busy and operating in the background, a hybrid wait cursor is displayed that indicates to the user the busy state of the application and the user's ability to interact with operating system elements or other applications regardless of this busy state. Other forms of hybrid cursors are disclosed that indicate the results of a drag operation, and quantitative data pertaining to objects being dragged.
Cursor Patent
Illustration of possible hybrid cursor embodiments. | Source: USPTO


As noted in the patent's background literature, a system-wide dynamically changing cursor can offer a great deal more information to a user than one that shifts appearance based on simple application cues such as filling in a text box. Apple's invention provides feedback in a number of situations where, in some cases, the tail portion of the cursor changes appearance to reflect various operations or operating status.

The patent supports a "tail section" which displays contextual data in numbers, geometric shapes and colors, among other graphical assets.

Cursor
Dynamic cursor in OS X Lion. Note: Because screen captures disable
cursor arrow overlays, a photo is provided instead.


In the most recent versions of Apple's desktop operating system, namely OS X, the dynamic cursor has a modified hybrid design which overlays the arrow's tail on top of contextualized content.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Do we want a screenshot instead of a screen picture?


     


    This is how Mountain Lion GM does it when moving multiple items around within a folder (cursor location is up by the 4 badge):


     


    image


     


    This is how Mountain Lion GM does it after having dragged multiple items into another folder (same location):


     


    image


     


    Ah, I should also clarify that I have replaced the stock folder icons. Don't get excited that they've switched to something prettier.

  • Reply 2 of 16
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,523member
    Do we want a screenshot instead of a screen picture?

    This is how Mountain Lion GM does it when moving multiple items around within a folder (cursor location is up by the 4 badge):

    700

    This is how Mountain Lion GM does it after having dragged multiple items into another folder (same location):

    700

    Ah, I should also clarify that I have replaced the stock folder icons. Don't get excited that they've switched to something prettier.

    Candy Bar in action?
  • Reply 3 of 16
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member


    timing how long before someone says something like "How did Apple get a patent on this? Windows has been doing it for like the last 5 years"

  • Reply 4 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

    Candy Bar in action?


     


    I just replaced the actual system files.


    Quote:


     


    I know, but I've done it every 10.x.x update since Leopard (because every single update feels that it needs to revert them for absolutely no reason…) with zero problems ever. Same with my drive icons!


     


     


    image


     


    Edit: That image better darn well be animated for everyone else, Huddler… 

  • Reply 5 of 16

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    timing how long before someone says something like "How did Apple get a patent on this? Windows has been doing it for like the last 5 years"



     


    Windows has been doing this since they ripped off Apple's GUI before you were born.


     


    In fact it was back before Bill Gates discovered the amazing effects of shampoo and regular grooming.

  • Reply 6 of 16
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,855member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post


    In fact it was back before Bill Gates discovered the amazing effects of shampoo and regular grooming.



    You noticed that too?  He really was gross looking back in the day.  Of course SJ reportedly had legendary body odor on occasion.

  • Reply 7 of 16
    rbryanhrbryanh Posts: 263member


    Apple should be forbidden further patents of any kind.  Steve Jobs should be posthumously spanked on BoobTube until hist ghosts blubbers like a nasty, selfish little girl.  Samsung should be placed in stocks in the town square where we can all pelt its collective buttocks would rotten vegetables.   Microsoft should be locked naked in a glass box with 100,000 cockroaches.  Adobe should never been seen in public without a dunce cap on its head and duct tape across its mouth.  


     


    There is no corporate body anywhere that doesn't deserve punishment.  The whole bunch of them should be stripped down to their putrescent, soulless flab and publicly, sexually humiliated for crimes against humanity, taste, and sense.  Dress them in cotton candy French maid's uniforms, dip them in corn syrup, roll them in elephant dung, and throw them to the flies.  And while were at it, put anyone who ever invested in any of them in Borat thongs and make them dance to old Lionel Richie songs on "America's Got Stupidity."  


     


    Our whole species should be sent to its room until it's ready to explain when it did wrong and say it's sorry.  I'm sick unto death of the whole destructive, empty, mindless, selfish, nasty, greedy, and above all stupid bunch of us.  Why don't we just get together, admit we're all terrified of dying, and blow our collective heads off?  I'm so sorry nuclear Armageddon has gone out of fashion:  mass suicide is arguably the best idea humanity ever had.  


     


    6,973,738,433 stomachs and barely a single brain between us.  Where is a giant meteor when you need one?  


     
  • Reply 8 of 16
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member
    rbryanh wrote: »
    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">Apple should be forbidden further patents of any kind.  Steve Jobs should be posthumously spanked on BoobTube until hist ghosts blubbers like a nasty, selfish little girl.  Samsung should be placed in stocks in the town square where we can all pelt its collective buttocks would rotten vegetables.   Microsoft should be locked naked in a glass box with 100,000 cockroaches.  Adobe should never been seen in public without a dunce cap on its head and duct tape across its mouth.  </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;min-height:16px;"> </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">There is no corporate body anywhere that doesn't deserve punishment.  The whole bunch of them should be stripped down to their putrescent, soulless flab and publicly, sexually humiliated for crimes against humanity, taste, and sense.  Dress them in cotton candy French maid's uniforms, dip them in corn syrup, roll them in elephant dung, and throw them to the flies.  And while were at it, put anyone who ever invested in any of them in Borat thongs and make them dance to old Lionel Richie songs on "America's Got Stupidity."  </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;min-height:16px;"> </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">Our whole species should be sent to its room until it's ready to explain when it did wrong and say it's sorry.  I'm sick unto death of the whole destructive, empty, mindless, selfish, nasty, greedy, and above all stupid bunch of us.  Why don't we just get together, admit we're all terrified of dying, and blow our collective heads off?  I'm so sorry nuclear Armageddon has gone out of fashion:  mass suicide is arguably the best idea humanity ever had.  </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;min-height:16px;"> </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">6,973,738,433 stomachs and barely a single brain between us.  Where is a giant meteor when you need one?  </p>

     

    Rough day?
  • Reply 9 of 16

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    I just replaced the actual system files.


     


    I know, but I've done it every 10.x.x update since Leopard (because every single update feels that it needs to revert them for absolutely no reason…) with zero problems ever. Same with my drive icons!


     


     


    image


     


    Edit: That image better darn well be animated for everyone else, Huddler… 



    I've never had the default drive icons on a Mac, ever. I just think they're tacky. I've been using the same OLED Icon set for about two and a half years.


    image


     


    The same with the Safari Icon, actually. I found a different one on deviantART that looks more like a polished Apple icon than the actual Apple icon.


    image

  • Reply 10 of 16
    Ahhh, didn't the Amiga do this long before either?
  • Reply 11 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

    The same with the Safari Icon, actually. I found a different one on deviantART that looks more like a polished Apple icon than the actual Apple icon.


    image



     


    I switch out a fair number of them, both 1st and 3rd party.


     


     


    image

  • Reply 12 of 16
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    muppetry wrote: »
    Rough day?

    Betting that he's away prepping his plane and flight plan toward an IRS building.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    rbryanh wrote: »
    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">Apple should be forbidden further patents of any kind.  Steve Jobs should be posthumously spanked on BoobTube until hist ghosts blubbers like a nasty, selfish little girl.  Samsung should be placed in stocks in the town square where we can all pelt its collective buttocks would rotten vegetables.   Microsoft should be locked naked in a glass box with 100,000 cockroaches.  Adobe should never been seen in public without a dunce cap on its head and duct tape across its mouth.  </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;min-height:16px;"> </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">There is no corporate body anywhere that doesn't deserve punishment.  The whole bunch of them should be stripped down to their putrescent, soulless flab and publicly, sexually humiliated for crimes against humanity, taste, and sense.  Dress them in cotton candy French maid's uniforms, dip them in corn syrup, roll them in elephant dung, and throw them to the flies.  And while were at it, put anyone who ever invested in any of them in Borat thongs and make them dance to old Lionel Richie songs on "America's Got Stupidity."  </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;min-height:16px;"> </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">Our whole species should be sent to its room until it's ready to explain when it did wrong and say it's sorry.  I'm sick unto death of the whole destructive, empty, mindless, selfish, nasty, greedy, and above all stupid bunch of us.  Why don't we just get together, admit we're all terrified of dying, and blow our collective heads off?  I'm so sorry nuclear Armageddon has gone out of fashion:  mass suicide is arguably the best idea humanity ever had.  </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;min-height:16px;"> </p>

    <p style="margin:0px 0px 0px 0px;font:14px Arial;">6,973,738,433 stomachs and barely a single brain between us.  Where is a giant meteor when you need one?  </p>

     

    Lead by example?
  • Reply 14 of 16
    filburtfilburt Posts: 398member


    While dynamic hybrid cursor is nice and all, Apple really needs to improve default cursors. It is often very difficult to locate where the pointer is.

  • Reply 15 of 16
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by filburt View Post

    It is often very difficult to locate where the pointer is.


     


    How?

  • Reply 16 of 16
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    filburt wrote: »
    While dynamic hybrid cursor is nice and all, Apple really needs to improve default cursors. It is often very difficult to locate where the pointer is.

    You can increase the size using the System Prefs --> Accessibility options.

    I don't know of a way to stop it from disappearing when doing non-mouse actions. It reappears where you left it as soon as you mouse action again.
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