MacRumors has revealed a new patent application filed by Apple at US Patent Office called Swipe Gestures for Touch Screen Keyboards.
The patent application is authored by Fingerworks founder, Wayne Westerman. The patent application reveals some interesting gesture based features that could make it to iPhone’s virtual keyboard.
Apple’s patent suggests the use of swipe gestures to be used on top of the
iPhone’s on screen keyboard in order to provide the user with quick
access to common keys rather than tapping them.
For example, erasing and basic
punctuation insertion, directional swipes (also referred to herein as
"swipe gestures") over the alphabetic keys can be used as an
alternative to striking certain keys. Because the Space and Backspace
keys are quite frequently used, they are logical candidates for the
rightward and leftward swipes, respectively. Leftward and rightward
swipes intuitively match the cursor travel caused by these symbols.
Following this cursor movement analogy, the Enter/Return may be invoked
by a downward swipe, and a Shift/Caps may be invoked by an upward
swipe. Alternatively, as the Enter and Shift functions may be less
frequently invoked, these may be substituted for other functions as
well. One alternative mapping for the upward swipe, for example, could
be to activate an alternative numeric and punctuation keypad or a
particular punctuation symbol like an apostrophe or period.
A few sample gestures are depicted in the document as seen in the images below:
Swipe down = return
swipe left = delete
The patent application also reveals that the multi-touch gestures could be used for other special functions.
So while a single finger left-swipe might delete a letter, a two finger
left-swipe could delete a whole word, and a three finger left-swipe
could delete a line. Similarly, a single finger right-swipe could add a
space, while a two finger right-swipe could add a period. Up swipes and
down swipes could also invoke different functions based on the number
of fingers used.
These gesture based shortcuts could be quite useful for advanced users. If this has got you interested, you can read the entire details of the patent application by following this link.
It is important to note here that Apple like so many other companies,
patents ideas and so these features might never see the light of day. But the possibility of such feature additions is one of the reasons that makes iPhone’s virtual keyboard revolutionary. It gives Apple an oppurtunity to release new features with just a firmware update which is impossible with mobile phones with a physical keyboard.
What do you think about this patent application?
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