Apple Patent Reveals Radial GUI Pop-Up Menus in iOS


A recent Apple patent filing shows that the company is looking to make iOS more graphics-oriented with a radial pop-up menu. Currently, in menu operations, pop-up menus are text-based and the radial dial that was shown with the iOS patent would show large icons that represent any possible actions or commands available to the user. Also, when pop-up menus have long lists that require scrolling, radial menus could make it faster and more intuitive to see all the possible commands that are available rather than hunt through a long list for the proper command that you seek.

The novel radial menu techniques of some embodiments include (i) non-uniform spacing of menu items, (ii) the use of shading or highlighting within a region associated with an item to indicate the present selectability of the item, and (iii) the use of radial gestures for opening sub-menus and the subsequent display of the sub-menu.

Users can scroll through, like on a rotary phone, and swipe out to the command that they want to initiate. Whether the pop-up menus will show up as part of the next-generation iOS 5 or iPhone 5 is not known. With RIM’s recent TAT acuisition, it looks like the attention to smartphone UIs will continue to heat up.

Filed in Apple. Read more about Apple Inc, Ui and User Interface.

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