Apple's Mac OS X may gain multi-sized icon interface

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple Inc. has developed an enhancement to its Mac OS X Finder user interface that will allow for different-sized icons within the same window as a means of representing their importance, a recent patent application has revealed.



In the filing, made last December and published for the first time Thursday, the Cupertino-based Mac maker notes that conventional graphical user interfaces already allow users to alter all icons of a display system or window from one size to another size based upon their preference.



"However, such difference in size does not indicate the relative importance of the files or program represented by the icon, since the change in icon size is performed universally for all icons in a container, such as a folder or window," the company wrote. "Accordingly, in order to present a more informative and personalized user interface, a manner of describing to a user relative importance of an icon in relation to other icons in a system is desirable."



Apple said it has developed a user interface which allows a user to adjust the size of icons based upon the user's preference or based upon a characteristic of the objects that the icons represent. The filing states that, "When the icon sizing is performed according to a user preference, a relative sizing scheme or an arbitrary icon sizing scheme can be employed to variably size icons."



The Mac maker's invention includes a method and associated apparatus for efficiently employing arbitrarily sized icons to represent objects within a display device. "To this end," Apple wrote, "a user's arbitrary sizing of various icons in accordance with the present invention generates icon representations that can advantageously represent categorization of application or file importance, and/or the size of a file represented by an icon."







Additionally, the new icon interface would make way for the user to designate one preference value for a plurality of grouped icons to be sized accordingly. For example, as shown in the image above, icons 46 and 48 labeled "BBEdit Startup Items" and "BBEdit FTP Temp", respectively, illustrate multiple icons that are grouped and sized equally. This is also shown for the smallest icons 50-57.







Once a user has chosen the relative size of each of the icons that are to be sized, Apple's icon sizing application will calculate the relative size of each icon to be displayed on display device, the company said.



The filing, titled "Graphical user interface for computers having variable size icons," is credited to Apple User Interface Design Team members Arnaud Gourdol and Donald Lindsay.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 86
    bacillusbacillus Posts: 313member
    Three words: PLEASE UPDATE FINDER
  • Reply 2 of 86
    This is not a new idea. We had this back in the old Commodore Amiga days! Ah, memories... It was nice then, and with OS X's fantastic, larger icon support, it will be brilliant for Leopard.
  • Reply 3 of 86
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 599member
    Ahh... AmigaDOS. Fond memories.
  • Reply 4 of 86
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,249member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post


    Ahh... AmigaDOS. Fond memories.



    Playing Pong all day in the University bar. Those were the days
  • Reply 5 of 86
    Is it just me or does it seem pretty asinine that you this concept can be patented?



    Stripping away the technical jargon, it comes down to "multiple sized objects on screen simultaneously." Hardly a revolutionary concept.
  • Reply 6 of 86
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,249member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Is it just me or does it seem pretty asinine that you this concept can be patented?



    Stripping away the technical jargon, it comes down to "multiple sized objects on screen simultaneously." Hardly a revolutionary concept.



    I guess once Steve experienced the shock of seeing Windows 1.0 after allowing Gates access to the pre release first Mac OS under a confidentiality agreement to develop Steve's concept (Office) Word, MutltPlan, Chart and File for the Mac Plus (I still have them by the way) he's been a little more careful
  • Reply 7 of 86
    johnnykrzjohnnykrz Posts: 152member
    Notice that the windows in the drawings are from the Classic OS - in fact, they look like System 7 or earlier due to the drawing. I wonder, as others have suggested, if this idea is just as old. It does seem like it would be simple and useful, however.
  • Reply 8 of 86
    brianusbrianus Posts: 138member
    Yeah, it could be they're resurrecting old interface ideas they never used but had played around with. Weren't there also rumors that the "piles" interface might be making a comeback too?
  • Reply 9 of 86
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Last December? Seems like it's from around 1999.



    Honestly, I don't see this particular idea as very promising. Seems messy, confusing, and awkward. I don't want a folder to be absolutely enormous just because it, say, contains 100 or even 500 items.
  • Reply 10 of 86
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Am I the only one who doesn't see any real world relevance in this. To me, this is just fluff.



    Does it determine size by the counting the number of items directly in the directory or by adding the amount of space used within that folder?
  • Reply 11 of 86
    revsrevs Posts: 93member
    this isnt new. you could do this in 10.0 (or 10.1 or so)
  • Reply 12 of 86
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    *YAWN.*



    Instead of giving us multi-sized icons, which NOBODY needs or wants, why doesn't Apple learn something from Path Finder and update the damn Finder?



    Sometimes Steve Jobs hits a homerun and is a brilliant man, other times he's just an arrogant stubborn child.
  • Reply 13 of 86
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,249member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post


    *YAWN.*



    Instead of giving us multi-sized icons, which NOBODY needs or wants, why doesn't Apple learn something from Path Finder and update the damn Finder?



    Sometimes Steve Jobs hits a homerun and is a brilliant man, other times he's just an arrogant stubborn child.



    You should get in touch with him, I bet he would welcome your genius to help him on his bad days
  • Reply 14 of 86
    alanskyalansky Posts: 235member
    Displaying files and folders in Icon view might be fun for dilettantes, but it's hard to imagine a clunkier, less useful way to look at dozens of folders each containing hundreds of files. What a mess that would be!
  • Reply 15 of 86
    they haven't even gotten the grid on the desktop to lines things up properly and now they are doing this?



    they need update the finder before adding stuff like this. until the finder is fixed, ideas like this will make things worse instead of better
  • Reply 16 of 86
    willrobwillrob Posts: 203member
    There was an Application Enhancer that did this back in OS9, I think. It doesn't seem Apple can patent this, since it already existed.... but if there were no previous patents, maybe they can. Has anyone patented the wheel yet?
  • Reply 17 of 86
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Is it just me or does it seem pretty asinine that you this concept can be patented?



    Stripping away the technical jargon, it comes down to "multiple sized objects on screen simultaneously." Hardly a revolutionary concept.



    bass [beer] has trademarked the triangle. i don't think it's ridiculous. neither is this.

    jobs should have trademarked *gets instead of widgets. then vista would have to call it's gadgets "doo-hickeys"
  • Reply 18 of 86
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by desarc View Post


    bass [beer] has trademarked the triangle. i don't think it's ridiculous. neither is this.

    jobs should have trademarked *gets instead of widgets. then vista would have to call it's gadgets "doo-hickeys"



    One can trademark certain specific shapes and color combinations, and I don't have a problem with that. That just prevents a competitor or a knock-off company from trying to use that, because there's a lot invested in making the brand and trademark, I really don't have a problem with trademark law as it is.



    But still, I'm just not seeing what's so special about varying icon sizes. It's a good idea, but I'm just not seeing how there is so much invested in this idea that a patent is necessary. I think the patent filing was probably more work than updating a file management program to take advantage of the idea. I don't see this as being the result of a lot of expensive research either, maybe the time spent sketching it on a dinner napkin is it.
  • Reply 19 of 86
    g3prog3pro Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post


    Notice that the windows in the drawings are from the Classic OS - in fact, they look like System 7 or earlier due to the drawing. I wonder, as others have suggested, if this idea is just as old. It does seem like it would be simple and useful, however.



    Actually it's Mac OS 8.
  • Reply 20 of 86
    tinktink Posts: 395member
    BBEdit 5.0 (now @ 8.6) and and that cool OS 8 look and feel.
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