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MacNN reports on a new patent application published on February 8th, 2007 entitled "Method and apparatus for organizing information in a computer system" which appears to revive an idea known as "Piles" that was patented by Apple in 1994.

The new application linked is not actually assigned to Apple, but does share some of the inventors of the original patent.

The "Piles" feature inadvertently became the focus of many rumors when an early rumor report mis-identified the upcoming Expose feature as "Piles".

To refresh you, here is the description of the original concept of Piles:

Apple holds a patent on this one. Developed by Gitta Salomon and her team close to a decade ago, a pile is a loose grouping of documents. Its visual representation is an overlay of all the documents within the pile, one on top of the other, rotated to varying degrees. In other words, a pile on the desktop looked just like a pile on your real desktop.
To view the documents within the pile, you clicked on the top of the pile and drew the mouse up the screen. As you did so, one document after another would appear as a thumbnail next to the pile. When you found the one you were looking for, you would release the mouse and the current document would open.

Piles, unlike today's folders, gave you a lot of hints as to their contents. You could judge the number of documents in the pile by its height. You could judge its composition very rapidly by pulling through it.
 

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,109
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Solon, OH
Hmm... I doubt this will make it into Leopard, but I suppose it's possible. I definitely think this will appear in Mac OS X 10.6 (or whatever Apple calls the Mac OS X release after Leopard).

Personally, I'm looking forward to this feature, as it sounds extremely useful.
 
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pdpfilms

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Jun 29, 2004
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Vermontana
It seems odd that this patent's solution to organization is disorganization... Just the appearance of 'piles' all around is enough to put off many users.
 
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rtdgoldfish

macrumors 6502a
Jul 4, 2004
575
1
Nashville, TN
Sounds a bit like an enhanced version of a PDF file.

I would use it for designing websites. Have one file that you can quickly browse through and see what code, images, etc are in there.
 
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Peace

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Apr 1, 2005
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Hmm... I doubt this will make it into Leopard, but I suppose it's possible. I definitely think this will appear in Mac OS X 10.6 (or whatever Apple calls the Mac OS X release after Leopard).

Personally, I'm looking forward to this feature, as it sounds extremely useful.


OS 10.5 is Leopard
OS 10.6..dont think theres gonna be one
Piles would be best used in a touch screen environment.
 
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Project

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2005
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Vista does something similar called Stacks so I dont think they will use that name.

Im guessing the use of Core Animation / Quick Look makes this a real possibility for Leopard.
 
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wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
12,109
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Solon, OH
OS 10.5 is Leopard
OS 10.6..dont think theres gonna be one

Piles would be best used in a touch screen environment.

Interesting. So you think we'll see Mac OS 11 first? I could see that too.

Touch screens, you say? Sounds like a perfect application for Apple's Inkwell technology :)
 
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t3chomnkey

macrumors newbie
Feb 8, 2007
1
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Best use of piles, ever:

I hope if apple ever decides to use piles, they'll incorporate their uber patented gesture technology and have it function something like this.

Crap. Beat me to it. Same link to the youtube video.
 
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Superdrive

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2003
765
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Dallas, Tx
I'm sure the description probably isn't an actual description of how useful this feature is. As described, it sounds like it is not very intuitive, which if that is the case, we won't see it.
 
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Rychiar

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2006
926
1,923
Waterbury, CT
eh doesnt sound that much different than folders to me. just messier. i already have a mess on my real desk, i dont need one on my mac desktop too, lol:rolleyes:
 
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pknz

macrumors 68020
Mar 22, 2005
2,478
1
NZ
If its anything like that video I see myself just bashing files into the "wall"
 
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richard4339

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2006
877
94
Illinois
Nintendo does something like this in Wii News. If you go to the globe view, you see the stories visually on the globe where they happened; the cities with more stories have a taller stack of "papers."
 
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Cepe Indicum

macrumors regular
Oct 11, 2006
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I think one of the aspects of any iplementation of "piles" would probably include a version of coverflow as well.

Yeah, I agree. Particularly if "piles" is indeed similar to what is demoed in the youtube link posted above.

It seems perfect for arranging "CDs, DVDs and photos", following on from the idea that Cover Flow allows you to "re-discover" your music.
 
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mrthieme

macrumors regular
Nov 29, 2006
209
0
OS 10.5 is Leopard
OS 10.6..dont think theres gonna be one
Piles would be best used in a touch screen environment.

I agree completely, touchscreen was the first thing I thought of too. After seeing the iphone in action, I'm very excited thinking about what the next generation of Mac hardware will consist of. This multitouch interface may very well be the next form of interaction with our computers. Piles sounds like a perfect fit for using your hands.
 
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bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
14,502
573
Lard
I've always considered that Exposé was based on Piles' technology. I thought that Spaces would be similar.

What people don't see is just as important as what they see.
 
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