The pinch-to-zoom feature was a pretty amazing feature when first introduced. Now when interacting with touch-based devices, it has almost become second nature to pinch-to-zoom when trying to enlarge or zoom out of a webpage or image. That being said, is it possible that there could be a more efficient way of enlarging or zooming out of objects? While it remains to be seen if Apple’s method could prove to be a more efficient solution, the Cupertino company has recently filed a patent for a new method of zooming in to objects that could one day replace pinch-to-zoom.

Basically how this method works is that it detects how close the user’s face is to the screen, and will zoom in and out accordingly. Obviously when our faces are closer to the screen, the text or image can be made smaller, and when we’re further away, the text/image needs to be bigger in order to be read. This is the first part of the patent that is called the “comfort mode”, whereby the content is maintained at a comfortable size regardless of how far away the user’s face is from the display.

The second part refers to zoom made, which is essentially the reverse of comfort mode where the closer the person’s face is to the screen, the more zoomed in it gets. This could be useful for gaming or while using maps. As expected this technology will rely on the front-facing camera to detect the distance of the user, but as to whether it will ultimately manifest itself in a future Apple product remains to be seen.

Filed in Apple. Read more about Patent.

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