Apple Patents Show Motion-Aware Interfaces, Front-Facing Video Camera
Two new patent applications published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in recent weeks reveal intentions by Apple to include motion as part of the User Interface. The two patents take two different approaches, both promising to make the interface easier to use while the user is in motion or engaging in other activities. The second patent also includes a diagram of a front-facing video camera.
The first patent (# 20090088204), published a few weeks ago, is titled “Movement-based interfaces for personal media device”, and outlines ways in which motion gestures could be added to the interface to make the iPhone and iPod touch easier to use when the person is engaging in activities that involve a lot of moving around, such as jogging. In it, Apple suggests the use of motion gestures as an addition to the interface itself, similar to the way it is used in the iPod Nano.
The second application (# 20090100384) suggests a more practical solution. Instead of using movement-based controls to compensate for decreased ability to use the touchscreen, they now suggest modifying the touchscreen’s interface in real time when motion is sensed to make it easier to use.
One example, shown above, shows how the Contacts screen would change while someone is jogging (right) compared to how it normally looks (left). The size of the contacts gets bigger so it’s easer to use, and the names get bigger, making it easier to read.
It was also discovered that the illustrations of the iPhone on the second application show the iPhone having a front-facing video camera pointed toward the viewer, labeled above as 180 (the small circle above the speaker).