Folks over at Patently Apple have come across a new patent application from Apple submitted to the European Patent Office for a feature that might be seen in future iterations of iOS and Mac OS X Lion.
The patent reveals a user interface that offers scrollable menus and toolbars for applications with large number of menu options. The basic idea of the patent is to save screen real estate and provide easier access to these menus.
Patently Apple explains:
“Apple's patent and illustrations introduce us to a new concept of scrollable menus and toolbars that may very well end up in both OS X Lion and a future iteration of iOS. The new menus and toolbars may also be integrated into future iterations of Apple applications such as Aperture and/or suite applications like Pages, Numbers and iMovie.
To begin with, Apple states that their invention provides a novel method for presenting a menu in a graphical user interface. The menu includes several selectable menu items that are assigned in a particular order for scrolling through a selection window based on user input. In some embodiments, each of the menu items is associated with a command. When a menu item is in the selection window, a user could select the menu item in order to perform the command associated with the menu item."
The figure below shows how the feature may be implemented in iOS.
It can get quite painful if an application has many menu options so it is good to see Apple thinking about how to deal with this problem. But I'm not sure how a small window with scrollable menus and toolbars will solve this problem.
Let us know your views in the comments section below.
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