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112101-scrollable_menus_500.jpg


Patently Apple reports on a newly-published patent application from Apple coming out of the European patent office and revealing user interfaces offering scrollable menus and toolbars designed to handle the ever-increasing number of tools and options in many applications while limiting the amount of space required to access those options.

In particular, Apple's patent application describes the use of a small selection window through which a variety of options could be scrolled, rather than offering an entire toolbar with all options remaining visible at all times. The drawings accompanying the patent application depict implementations on both Mac OS X and iOS.
Apple's patent and illustrations introduce us to a new concept of scrollable menus and toolbars that may very well end up in both OS X Lion and a future iteration of iOS. The new menus and toolbars may also be integrated into future iterations of Apple applications such as Aperture and/or suite applications like Pages, Numbers and iMovie.

To begin with, Apple states that their invention provides a novel method for presenting a menu in a graphical user interface. The menu includes several selectable menu items that are assigned in a particular order for scrolling through a selection window based on user input. In some embodiments, each of the menu items is associated with a command. When a menu item is in the selection window, a user could select the menu item in order to perform the command associated with the menu item.


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In addition to vertical and horizontal scrolling, Apple proposes other geometric organizations such as arcs and circles of icons that could permit a large number of icons to be displayed in a limited area and scrolled into position for selection.

Article Link: Apple Patent Application Reveals Scrollable Menus and Toolbars
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,963
4,060
The thick of it
I'm glad Apple is thinking about this. The sheer number of options available in each program is starting to get overwhelming, especially in iOS devices. Just scrolling through bookmarks in Safari is daunting. I'm not sure if a small side-scrolling window is the best answer, but at least Apple knows it's a problem.
 
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Tomple

macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2008
604
0
New York, New York
I'm glad Apple is thinking about this. The sheer number of options available in each program is starting to get overwhelming, especially in iOS devices. Just scrolling through bookmarks in Safari is daunting. I'm not sure if a small side-scrolling window is the best answer, but at least Apple knows it's a problem.

+1 absolutly
 
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jwheeler

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2010
193
0
I wonder if "iMovie +" is a new more advanced product (to replace FCE?) or whether its "iMovie" + other apps?

Ambiguity...

(That screenshot shows it being non-linear)
 
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JAQ

macrumors 6502
May 13, 2008
302
71
Purgatory MI
So apparently they've thought of a different way to hide things from the user. It's better than Windows' ill-conceived "personalized menus", which selectively remove things that haven't been used recently, but the whole idea defeats the purpose of a menu, which is to make it easy to look for functions without necessarily knowing where to find them.
 
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WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,618
1,663
I wonder if "iMovie +" is a new more advanced product (to replace FCE?) or whether its "iMovie" + other apps?

Ambiguity...

That's a Patently Apple caption for the figure, so don't read anything into it.
 
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iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,527
253
Wow, how do they come up with these ideas?!?

As an aside: does anyone know what the term "prior art" means?
 
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0815

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2010
1,766
938
here and there but not over there
Probably just another idea they were toying with that will never see the light of the world. They always try tons of things the play with new ideas. They apply for the patent, they have a proof of concept, ... but that does not mean it will surface any time soon.
 
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Jeremy1026

macrumors 68020
Nov 3, 2007
2,210
1,013
What, a patent for an OS X technology, but reading comments here OS X is dead and buried.
 
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WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
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As an aside: does anyone know what the term "prior art" means?

Basically, anything relevant to the technology that was publicly known prior to the filing of the patent application.
 
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UlfDunkel

macrumors newbie
Aug 24, 2010
5
0
Gorgeous - old - idea

Oh, a scrollable toolbar which only showed 5 (out of unlimited) tools, was a basic part in Calamus on Atari since its first release, somewhen in the dark ages, 1987. And yes, it was sizeable, too. No touch gestures in those days, of course. Well, they all touched their black&white screens in those days. :p
 
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k2k koos

macrumors 6502a
nice idea, but a new one?

I like this idea, but if it is al together new? Not so sure, there are a few iPhone/iPod applications that let me scroll through several functions/tools etc. But I'd welcome it in tool heavy apps nontheless, photoshop, Logic, Autocad, and other software with a gazillion options and tools could become a lot more cleaner looking. However , care must be taken that not all tools are in the same 'scroll' menu, you could find yourself scrolling back and fwd forever to try and find the one you want.. :apple:
 
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freelancing

macrumors regular
Sep 30, 2007
109
30
I cringe when I think of the collapsable/expandable menus in Windows. If I click on the menu, I want to see the whole damn thing, not just a part of it.

I'm sure Apple's execution of it will be beyond what we would think of - but then again, they did come up w/ that ridiculous translucent title bar. *shudder*
 
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bdkennedy1

Suspended
Oct 24, 2002
1,275
528
I can't even imagine having to constantly scroll through a tool bar to find a tool. I think Adobe has the best implementation - click and hold on a tool to reveal more tools.
 
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fxtech

macrumors 6502
Oct 13, 2008
417
0
Wow, how do they come up with these ideas?!?

As an aside: does anyone know what the term "prior art" means?

+1. The Tiffen Photo fx app for iPhone basically has this, and it's been out for 2 years.
 
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RightJustified

macrumors newbie
Aug 25, 2010
27
0
1) this is a patent? scrolling menus?

2) what a terrible idea.

that diagram of final cut or whatever there makes me cringe. obviously its SO much easier to find your button in a tiny window that you have to scroll through... rather than just clicking the button.

and everyone saying "oh, there's too many buttons".... this is so, so much worse. it helps to see only ONE button at a time, in a tiny scrolling list? REALLY?
 
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Jul 29, 2008
217
0
I'm glad Apple is thinking about this. The sheer number of options available in each program is starting to get overwhelming, especially in iOS devices. Just scrolling through bookmarks in Safari is daunting. I'm not sure if a small side-scrolling window is the best answer, but at least Apple knows it's a problem.

Agree completely, but it's a slippery slope. On the one hand, they're trying to simplify the computer. On the other, they're adding complexity to iOS. It's easy to see how this can go very wrong at both ends, with computer users complaining about lost functionality and iPhone users complaining about an impossible interface.

Funny thing, I was thinking about something similar last night. I felt the need for a separate, simplified version of iTunes. Just for playing media, not editing. Everything shows up as a button, like a good jukebox (physical actual jukebox machine, I mean). Relatively few options - this interface is designed for finding and playing music only.

Same thing could work for Safari bookmarks. Apple does something along these lines with 'Top Sites' now, but this would take it further, with buttons using art from the sites themselves. What is the Internet but a giant virtual jukebox, anyway?
 
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res1233

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2008
1,127
0
Brooklyn, NY
Agree completely, but it's a slippery slope. On the one hand, they're trying to simplify the computer. On the other, they're adding complexity to iOS. It's easy to see how this can go very wrong at both ends, with computer users complaining about lost functionality and iPhone users complaining about an impossible interface.

Funny thing, I was thinking about something similar last night. I felt the need for a separate, simplified version of iTunes. Just for playing media, not editing. Everything shows up as a button, like a good jukebox (physical actual jukebox machine, I mean). Relatively few options - this interface is designed for finding and playing music only.

Same thing could work for Safari bookmarks. Apple does something along these lines with 'Top Sites' now, but this would take it further, with buttons using art from the sites themselves. What is the Internet but a giant virtual jukebox, anyway?

That kinda exists already. Push the maximize button and iTunes switches to a minimal player that pretty much turns it into a shuffle. It's kinda neat. I like it.
 
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brownpaw

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2010
156
124
Oh, a scrollable toolbar which only showed 5 (out of unlimited) tools, was a basic part in Calamus on Atari since its first release, somewhen in the dark ages, 1987. And yes, it was sizeable, too. No touch gestures in those days, of course. Well, they all touched their black&white screens in those days. :p

This is what I was thinking. I can't believe that something so obvious (and minor, really) would be granted a patent! I've seen scrollable toolbars a hundred times before.
 
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