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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,598
16,735


Apple has been conducting ongoing research into how to further improve their mobile device interfaces as evidenced by a couple of patent applications published over the past couple of weeks. Two different patent applications reveal a couple of different approaches to movement-aware interfaces found on portable devices.

The first application published a couple of weeks ago actually explore the possibility of using motion as an interface method itself.
One problem with existing portable media devices such as cellular telephones is that users can become distracted from other activities while interfacing with the media device's video display, graphical user interface (GUI), and/or keypad. For example, a runner may carry a personal media device to listen to music or to send/receive cellular telephone calls while running. In a typical personal media device, the runner must look at the device's display to interact with a media application in order to select a song for playing. Also, the user likely must depress the screen or one or more keys on its keypad to perform the song selection. These interactions with the personal media device can divert the user's attention from her surroundings which could be dangerous, force the user to interrupt her other activities, or cause the user to interfere with the activities of others within her surroundings.
Apple proposes the use of motion-based gestures to invoke specific commands rather than relying on on-screen buttons. Examples include the use of gestures such as flicking the phone to step through contacts. Additional uses of onscreen buttons or bezel touch detection could prevent accidental gesturing. Such a system, however, seems somewhat ambitious.

A more practical take on this problem emerges from a patent application published today. In this report, Apple concedes that users may have difficulty using the iPhone's touch interface while performing tasks in motion:
. A user of a device can interact with the graphical user interface by making contact with the touch-sensitive display. The device, being a portable device, can also be carried and used by a user while the user is in motion. While the user and the device is in motion, the user's dexterity with respect to the touch-sensitive display can be disrupted by the motion, detracting form the user's experience with the graphical user interface.
Apple's solution to the problem is to modify the iPhone's interface in real-time if it detects that you are in motion (such as running, jogging).


045834-movement.jpg


In this example, they enlarge the size of each contact in response to the detection of motion. Similar user interface adjustments to the iPhone's home screen could be made as well to improve accuracy during activity.

Apple's patent applications generally reveal a very wide-range of possibilities and don't necessarily result in shipping products, but does show the direction of Apple's recent research.

Article Link: Apple Researching Movement-Aware Interfaces for iPhones
 

nickXedge

macrumors 6502
Feb 13, 2008
393
0
Long Island
So when you run the UI enlarges?

As one example, I think it makes sense. I've run while using my iPhone and it's incredibly hard to focus and read the UI while in constant motion like that. This could bring all kinds of new possibilities, especially with future SDK options.
 

arubinst

macrumors 6502
May 26, 2008
319
154
Lausanne - Switzerland
There's also a front camera and they explicitly mention video. I'm guessing it's not the first time but I'm going to copy it here anyways... The patent text reads at some point:

The mobile device 100 can also include a camera lens and sensor 180. In some implementations, the camera lens and sensor 180 can be located on the back surface of the mobile device 100. The camera can capture still images and/or video.
 

Bakey

macrumors 6502
Oct 6, 2003
448
2
O Donny Boy
those aren't buttons, they're behind the screen, whatever they are.

They definitely look like buttons on the right hand side - where as those featured on the left appear to be within the body of the device as per the current silent mode on/off and volume up/down buttons.
 

danb77

macrumors 6502
Sep 4, 2007
439
1
Front-facing camera here we come....

But when?!

Hang on a sec: This is what the patent says

[0029]The mobile device 100 can also include a camera lens and sensor 180. In some implementations, the camera lens and sensor 180 can be located on the back surface of the mobile device 100. The camera can capture still images and/or video.

Where does that say the camera is front facing?
 

204353

Cancelled
Jul 13, 2008
955
115
All I want is at least 32GB storage. 64GB would be awesome because it would become a viable alternative to my iPod classic, which has way more room than I need.
 

Schizoid

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2008
873
606
UK
As long as I am able to scroll through my contacts by waving my phone about, that's all that matters (from a comedy point of view)

Will it make a light sabre noise too?
 

designgeek

macrumors 65816
Jan 30, 2009
1,064
0
"Town"
They definitely look like buttons on the right hand side - where as those featured on the left appear to be within the body of the device as per the current silent mode on/off and volume up/down buttons.

Oops, I was thinking left side, there I go again... yes those are buttons.
 

Schizoid

macrumors 6502a
May 29, 2008
873
606
UK
Oops, I was thinking left side, there I go again... yes those are buttons.

There won't be any buttons, it's like the new iPod Souffle, shake three times to rewind, shake once to pause, shaken not stirred to activate 007 mode...
 

o0samotech0o

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2008
193
0
Does anyone think that this'll make it to the very next iPhone coming in June/July?

No. Waay too late for a patent right? And do you remember the patent Apple did on the 3D desktops? they haven't incorporated this so far into snow leopard, so that makes me think the same for the iPhone and this patent application, if you see what i mean.

-Sam
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
16,091
5,316
Where does that say the camera is front facing?

It labels the camera (#180) in the photo and says in some implementations it could be back-facing -- implying the depicted implementation is front-facing.

arn
 

javaGuru

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2007
834
104
If Apple is serious about implementing video chat in future releases of the iPhone they will need to divorce themselves from AT&T. Currently, I do not believe AT&T would allow anything like video chat/conferencing over an iPhone on their 2.5, I mean,3G network. If the rumors that the slingplayer for iPhone has been rejected at AT&T's request pan out then they definitely will not allow video chat/conferencing. It's time for Apple to consider carriers other than AT&T.
 

MikeELL

macrumors regular
Aug 18, 2006
122
0
Perth, Australia
more gestures

What I want to see is more intelligent use of the "swipe to unlock" process. Unlocking the phone is an extra step on top of anything that a user would want to do.

My idea: Apple could have a feature where drawing a certain (customisable) gesture would quick-launch a particular application/function. What if, for anything you had on your home screen (or any function within any app) you could set a gesture to launch it from the unlock screen? Say I had macrumors bookmarked in Safari - I could draw "MR" on my locked phone and have Safari launch it in one go.

Simpler gestures could be drawing a "C" to go straight to your contacts, "M" to go to your music, or (more cliche) draw a heart shape to automatically call your partner.

You with me? ;) It would be so much faster and not require you to look (even if you had to have an "enter" key at the lower right corner). Applications from the app store could even have their own default gestures which you could change if you wanted. And since you can use as many fingers as you want there would be no limit to the number of gestures possible.

Thoughts?
 

bobsentell

macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2008
836
0
Alabama
I like the idea of having an adjustable display regardless whether I'm running or not. Some of the problems I have relate to my fat fingers. I am constantly picking the wrong contact when I'm trying to type an e-mail or text.
 

cecemf

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2007
126
0
London, UK
Proof of front facing camera :

"[0029]The mobile device 100 can also include a camera lens and sensor 180. In some implementations, the camera lens and sensor 180 can be located on the back surface of the mobile device 100. The camera can capture still images and/or video. "
 
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