Apple patent eyes Mac OS X tablet
Or multiple workspace iOS. Take your pick
A patent application published on Thursday reveals how far Apple has progressed on melding iOS's multi-touch interface with Mac OS X, and hints that the Mac operating system's multiple-workspace feature, Spaces, may find its way onto the iPad.
The application, entitled "Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Manipulating Workspace Views", deals with manipulating multiple workspaces through multi-finger touch gestures.
Mac OS X's Spaces feature allows you to view and select from multiple concurrent workspaces
Rather than manipulating Spaces using your keyboard or mouse as Mac OS X now requires, however, the filing envisions using multi-touch, multi-finger gestures to summon the Spaces view, move windows from workspace to workspace, and select which one to fill the display.
"Why bother?" you might ask. Well, according to Apple, using a mouse or keyboard to manage Spaces is "cumbersome and inefficient", requiring "selecting an icon or other small graphical user interface object with a cursor," or "remembering unintuitive keyboard shortcuts". Such actions are not only "tedious and create a significant cognitive burden", they also "wast[e] energy" which is "particularly important in battery-operated devices".
Place five fingers on your Mac's multi-touch display or control surface ...
... pinch them together and the workspace will begin to shrink ...
... until all the active workspaces appear in a Spaces view.
The filing goes to great lengths to describe in detail the configuration and capabilities of an iOS device, but when it details – also at great length – multi-touch multiple-workspace interaction, including 33 illustrations, those illustrations are clearly those of a Mac OS X device.
Only after the 63-page filing finishes explaining each and every one of those illustrations in excruciating detail does it say that "although the preceding examples have been given with reference to a touch screen display, in some embodiments the display and the touch-sensitive surface are separate."
That separation of display and multi-touch surface would follow Apple CEO Steve Jobs assertion that traditionally vertical Mac displays are unsuited for multi-touch use. When discussing multi-touch interfaces during his Mac OS X Lion introduction last October, Jobs said: "We've done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn't work." His conclusion: "touch surfaces want to be horizontal."
Next page: Mac OX goes horizontal
Ah yes ...
... but Linux has virtual desktops ... Apple "invented" spaces!
Is it so hard just to have four squares somewhere on the menu bar? That's what I always had in Linux and I loved it.
"One Mouse Button Is Better"
What I don't understand is - for years, we had claims that two mouse buttons were too complicated, and the combination of mouse button with option key press was better. But now, we're expected to believe that learning all kinds of complex multitouch gestures is better? Which is it?
If you think that explaining which mouse button to a newbie user is hard, how are you going to explain complex gestures? Especially say, over a phone or in a written article? No. Whilst some simple multitouch features are useful (the scroll and zoom gestures to replace mouse wheels), a well designed UI doesn't need anything more complex.
I was using workspaces on the Amiga years before Apple thought of them. Didn't need any multitouch for that.
Since when is making a gesture for a keyboard shortcut or mouse clicks patentable? Oh, it's two fingers that makes... no difference at all.
Since my hands are on the keyboard and/or mouse, that's the fastest and most convient way to do stuff, like switching workspaces.