A new Apple patent (number 20120311444) has popped up at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that hints at gestures for controlling devices, including perhaps an Apple-branded HDTV (the rumored “iTV”).
The patent is for a “portable multifunction device, method and graphical user interface for controlling media playback using gestures.” Per the patent, a collection of media tiles associated with a currently playing playlist can be displayed for a user on the screen of an electronic device.
Browsing through the media tiles can require a user to perform one or more quick view gestures, including swiping, dragging, or walking. As long as a user continues to perform quick view gestures, the currently playing media file may continue to play. While the user continues to perform quick view gestures, the device can be considered to be in a quick view gesture mode in which the currently playing media file is not disrupted.
A user may discontinue using quick view gestures (and thereby, quick view gesture mode) upon reaching a particular media tile. After a predetermined length of time, the media file associated with that media tile can automatically begin to play.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “As portable electronic devices become more compact, and the number of functions performed by a given device increases, it has become a significant challenge to design a user interface that allows users to easily interact with a multifunction device. This challenge is particularly significant for handheld portable devices, which have much smaller screens than desktop or laptop computers.
“This situation is unfortunate because the user interface is the gateway through which users receive not only content but also responses to user actions or behaviors, including user attempts to access a device’s features, tools, and functions. Some portable communication devices (e.g., mobile telephones, sometimes called mobile phones, cell phones, cellular telephones, and the like) have resorted to adding more pushbuttons, increasing the density of push buttons, overloading the functions of pushbuttons, or using complex menu systems to allow a user to access, store and manipulate data. These conventional user interfaces often result in complicated key sequences and menu hierarchies that must be memorized by the user.
”Many conventional user interfaces, such as those that include physical pushbuttons, are also inflexible. This is unfortunate because it may prevent a user interface from being configured and/or adapted by either an application running on the portable device or by users. When coupled with the time consuming requirement to memorize multiple key sequences and menu hierarchies, and the difficulty in activating a desired pushbutton, such inflexibility can be frustrating to many users.
“User interfaces associated with modern media players can be very unintuitive. Users with digital libraries are not provided with the visceral experience of physically picking out a record and choosing a track to play. Media player interfaces that do provide views of an album’s artwork fail to be intuitive and user friendly. Accordingly, there is a need for portable multifunction devices with more transparent and intuitive user interfaces for controlling media playback.”
Imran A. Chaudhri is the inventor.