PatentlyApple discovered Apple’s future plans for iOS in a patent published yesterday.
The Apple patent outlines a “persistent overlay” feature, Magic Mouse and Trackpad support for the iPad, and a new IDME (“ID Me”) social networking feature.
First of all, we have “persistent overlay.” It’s an effort to maximize the amount of information that can be viewed on the device using the ability to “tear off” sections of web pages, and place songs or other things that seems suspiciously like “widgets” – though Apple avoids this word – on the screen.
Apple’s patent states that “the persistent overlay could take many forms such as textual, graphical, and video data. The persistent overlay could also be related to audio data (such as a media item encoded as an MP3 file). For example, an icon or other appropriate image could be used to represent a music item encoded as an MP3 file. In this way, the persistently displayed icon associated with the music item could remain viewable from one displayed page to another.”
The persistent overlay feature’s translucency can be changed under some circumstances. In this way, it can still display information without being completely obtrusive. The big point, however, is that the information won’t go away as your flipping and navigating.
The patent also cites the ability to switch to different overlays (the assumption is that they’re user-configured) via a drop-down menu.
The next big feature that Apple’s patent covers is a new identification app and system called IDME, pronounced as “I.D. Me.”
The basis of this app is that identity information is ascertained from an image’s metadata, things like names and possibly addresses and phone numbers. On the whole, it seems like a real-life social networking tool, making it easy to pass virtual business cards. Of course, with rumors about the next generation next generation iPhone having NFC-support, this may be much more useful than at first glance.
Another smaller point covered in the patent is the use of external point devices “that could include a touch sensitive surface.” This likely covers the Magic Mouse and Trackpads.
As with every Apple patent, this doesn’t necessarily mean you would be seeing this anytime soon in a product.