macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

MacNN details several patent applications from Apple surrounding their Dashboard technology in Mac OS X.

The patent application surrounds efforts to organize sets of dashboards, much like Apple's upcoming "Spaces" feature in Leopard to organize workspaces. The MacNN blog takes a bit of a leap and suggests that these features will be seen in Leopard, but there is no clear evidence that this is the case.

The first example details methods for organizing widgets by theme: "For example, the user can create and configure one dashboard to contain widgets related to work, and another for widgets related to personal matters." Meanwhile, in another implementation, widget groups are organized by tabbed folders.

Finally, one possibility listed brings back the 3d cube interface that Apple has used for other transitions:

Apple's use of Dashboard widgets extends beyond desktop Mac OS X and has also made an appearance on Apple's iPhone interface, so some of these concepts could be translated to Apple's iPhone. The filing date for these patents, however, was back in February 2006 so they may simply represent unfinished concepts that won't make their way into a shipping product.


macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
I like the idea of widget categories that you can create. It would probably get me to use more of them a well.

I just hope users have enough RAM for it. :rolleyes:


macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
I'd love to see 3D integrated into a UI that was actually more functional than 2D... I don't know how that could be done though. For anyone who has used Vista, I think the advantages of current 2D are obvious. I'm not sure why you would want to organize anything on the surface of a cube...


macrumors 68000
Aug 6, 2005
Neato. So this is sorta like Multiple Desktops?

I'll go ahead and report the blooper in the post for ya...


macrumors 68020
Jan 16, 2002
Denver, CO
Tabbed Widets?

Tabbed widgets could be neat...

Personally, I'd prefer a simple, elegant way to completely turn OFF widgets without being a Unix-head.

Andrew D.

macrumors 6502
Apr 17, 2007
Chicago, IL
It seems like the whole dashboard feature is growing exponentially. I hope to see these changes soon, organized widgets for the win!

Clive At Five

macrumors 65816
May 26, 2004
St. Paul, MN
I would love this if I used dashboard. Unfortunately it takes for-fricken-ever to load them on my computer.

Yessir, it's time to replace the ol' 800 MHz G4 iMac...

*looks at bank account*

...nevermind... :(



macrumors 68000
Sep 15, 2004
Sounds neat, but I don't really find much value in widgets at all. Anything that I have a widget for, takes only seconds longer to do in the traditional way. I hardly use them and wish there was a easy way to turn them off as well.

I will be checking out this Onyx to reclaim some of my RAM back!


macrumors regular
Oct 26, 2006

Sounds like a nice feature, but really, a patent? For organizing things into categories? That is way too obvious and simple an idea to be granted a patent.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 29, 2005
Red Sox Nation
This would be VERY useful on the iphone, should they ever adopt an overlay interface as mac os x has. Currently, each widget shows up as an individual application, but I doubt that will last very long as more widgets get added. Tabbed sets of widgets would be helpful once there are enough widgets in the market to warrant it (given the limited screen real estate).

Maccus Aurelius

macrumors 6502a
Sep 19, 2006
Brooklyn, NY
Sounds neat, but I don't really find much value in widgets at all. Anything that I have a widget for, takes only seconds longer to do in the traditional way. I hardly use them and wish there was a easy way to turn them off as well.

I will be checking out this Onyx to reclaim some of my RAM back!

I actually like my widgets. I mainly just use the weather and calendar, though I find the Airport radar to be useful when looking for hotspots (since it also displays which are locked or not) I often use other widgets like unit conversion and the wikipedia shortcut. They're fairly quick and useful, and I don't see any lag in performance because of them.


macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2005
São Paulo - Brasil
Well, I don't know... but IMHO widgets are suposed to be something very simple, complimentary to the system as a whole... if you star implementing more and more functions, it will get too much complicated to use for most of the people...

My point is that trowing a lot of advanced features in something that was meant to be simple could make it lost it's apeal...

Well, let's waint and see...


macrumors regular
Feb 12, 2005
This needs a patent? I'm all for protecting your inventions when you've come up with something significant, but c'mon.

I guess since everyone is doing it Apple has to also, just to avoid being sued by people who have patented old ideas.


macrumors 68000
May 15, 2005
NG9, England
I occasionally use dashboard, so see little benefit for myself here. The only way this would help anyone significantly would be to make each spaces desktop have it's own dashboard. Changing the desktop, changes the dashboard, switching dashboards switches desktops.

If you have multiple dashboards within a desktop, it starts to complicate things for the average user. Me, I just see no benefit beyond the above implementation personally.


macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
That's cool, but Dashboard is about simplicity--getting in and out without much thought. I think the all-at-once style we have now supports that well.

If anything, I think it might be nice to be able to hide/minimize all widgets of a certain type--like all Stickies--down to a single "pile" of mini-widgets (still live) at the screen edge. And have them stay minimized permanently until you click the pile to see them. That way it's still one space and you can see all your widgets at once--but you also have room for more with less clutter.

The minimize button could appear next to the close button, and whichever specific one you click would be the one that sits on top of the pile.

So maybe I'd have a mini-pile of all my clocks, with my local clock on top. And a pile of all my Stickies with the most urgent on top.

And the option for power-uses to group NON-like widgets together wouldn't be a bad thing--like all your game widgets grouped manually.


macrumors 603
Oct 8, 2003
Canberra OZ
Floating tabs for different widgets sets done a bit like spaces would work for me. Throw in a massive wattery ripple effect when you switch between them and we have a winner.


macrumors 68020
Dec 25, 2006
What's that?

I'm just worried about Microsoft's planned "doodad" feature. Seems pretty advanced to me. . .

I've never heard of those and I can't find anything on them. Do you have a link you can post?

Thanks ;)

P.S. I absolutely love widgets. I think they are so efficient it is almost rediculous. They speed up so many common tasks for me it is incredible.
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