We've already seen a couple of different patents from Apple this week, and it doesn't look like the Cupertino-based company is slowing down any time soon. This time around, Apple is focusing on creative aspects and tweaks for their iOS mobile Operating System, which is used every day on devices like the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad tablet device. While the overall look and feel of iOS hasn't changed much since its inception in 2007, it looks like Apple is looking at adding some interesting changes to the software. Namely, pop-up radial menus for use in the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.
In this new patent application, Apple is looking at adding radial menus that pop-up when activated. For example, by long-pressing on, say, a picture, would activate a pop-up radial menu that would bring relevant options to the fore, so that the user can activate them quickly and easily. There's obviously nothing final about this, as it's just a patent application on the technology that Apple wants to use, as well as the implementation of the technology on a touchscreen display.
Here's a slice from the patent application itself:
“…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.”
The possibilities for Apple to incorporate this into iOS 5 are pretty endless, and if they take as much care into making it just work like the rest of the mobile OS, then it could indeed breath a new breath of life into the platform. Will Apple unveil this when they show off the next iPhone? We can certainly hope so.