Basically unchanged since it’s introduction in 2007, Apple’s iPhone/iOS user interface is still the best in class today, almost four years later. It now runs on more then a hundred million devices, have been jumped up to a much bigger iPad form factor, and only required minor tweaks and changes during it’s 4 year tenure.
Well, in iOS/iPhone 5 we can expect another round of tweaks to improve the device usability. And one such possible tweak surfaced in recent Apple patent application called “Radial menus “.
In it Apple talks about – you guessed it – radial menu pop-ups in various Apple products. Touchscreen based iPhones, iPods and iPads among them.
Radial menus are nothing radically new in computer interface design. But Apple is adding it’s own touch (pun intended ) to make them work seamlessly on it’s touch devices.
What exactly Apple is patenting here, that’s for the folks versed in patent law to decide. In the application Apple says that:
“…The novel radial menu techniques of some embodiments include (i) non-uniform spacing of menu items, (ii) the use of shading or highlighting within a region associated with an item to indicate the present selectability of the item, and (iii) the use of radial gestures for opening sub-menus and the subsequent display of the sub-menu.”
If implemented the right way, e.g. long-press on the screen and contextual radial menu pops-up with relevant options a finger swype away, this could be a really nice improvement to the iOS5 ease of use.
You can download the patent application here (*.pdf, 2.7MB)
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