An Apple patent was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on September 16, 2010 that basically covered the advances in scrolling acceleration for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPod touch. Yet the most interesting aspects to this patent actually went beyond discussing the advances of scrolling acceleration methodologies. In fact, what turned my head was that the patent summary actually begins by pointing to a touchscreen device that has yet to surface: the iMac. The patent then points to the fact that accelerated touchscreen scrolling will also apply to the MacBook. Furthermore, the patent also indirectly confesses to future applications that could be coming to said touch devices. The first is noted as being a "website design" application, which could mean a touch version of iLife's iWeb, and the other is a "drawing" application – which has appeared in other Apple patents and has been a long standing rumor. Oh the little gems that awaits us in Apple's patents.
Applications on multifunction devices may show information to a user, and the information may not all fit within the display of the multifunction device. For example, a multi-page electronic document may extend beyond the display. In this case, a user must scroll through the information.
Typical scrolling methods scroll through information based on finger movement, and the amount of scrolling is the same as the amount of finger movement. For example, when scrolling through an electronic contact list, the list may scroll through five contacts when the user's finger moves two centimeters.
When the information on the display of a multifunction device is lengthy, scrolling at a fixed rate is slow and inefficient. For example, it could take a very long time to scroll through a hundred page document or a contact list with several hundred contacts.
Accordingly, there is a need for multifunction devices with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for scrolling information. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace conventional methods for scrolling. Such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface. For battery-operated multifunction devices, such methods and interfaces conserve power and increase the time between battery charges.
Interestingly, Apple's patent summary begins with the revelation that "in some embodiments, the device is a desktop computer. A revelation, which once again, supports the notion that Apple is actively involved in the creation of an iMac Touch desktop.
In other embodiments, states the patent, "the device is portable (e.g., a notebook computer or handheld device). In some embodiments, the device has a touchpad. In some embodiments, the device has a touch-sensitive display (also known as a "touch screen" or "touch screen display"). "
In some embodiments, the user interacts with the GUI primarily through finger contacts and gestures on the touch-sensitive surface. Additionally, in some embodiments, "the functions may include one or more of: image editing, drawing, presenting, word processing, website creating, disk authoring, spreadsheet making, game playing, telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, workout support, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing."
According to Apple's patent, "a computer-implemented method is performed at a multifunction device with a display and a touch-sensitive surface. The method includes detecting multiple input gestures by a user, beginning with an initial input gesture. For each input gesture after the initial input gesture, the method scrolls information on the display at a respective scrolling speed. The respective scrolling speed is determined based on the respective input gesture movement speed in the input gesture and a movement multiplier. The method determines whether the respective input gesture meets one or more swipe gesture criteria, and determines whether the respective input gesture meets one or more successive gesture criteria. When the input gesture meets the one or more swipe gesture criteria and the one or more successive gesture criteria, the method updates the movement multiplier in accordance with one or more movement multiplier adjustment criteria.
Thus, multifunction devices with touch-sensitive surfaces are provided with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for scrolling, thereby increasing the effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction with such devices. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace conventional methods for scrolling."
Movement Multiplier: Finger Gesture Multipliers
Apple's patent FIGS. 5B, F, G, H and I, illustrate an exemplary series of finger gestures on a touch-screen device according to one embodiment. FIG. 5B illustrates an initial finger gesture, showing information item 502-6 at its initial location 502-6-a and at its final location 502-6-b after scrolling. The dotted circle 504A identifies the initial location of the user's finger during a first swipe, and dotted circle 504B identifies the final location of the user's finger during the first swipe. In FIG. 5B the amount of scrolling corresponds to the amount of finger movement.
Apple's patent FIGS. 5F to 5H illustrate exemplary ways to increase a finger movement multiplier. FIG. 5F illustrates the case where the finger movement multiplier changes in an instant from 1.0 to 1.5. FIGS. 5G and 5H illustrate cases where the increase in the finger movement multiplier is implemented gradually during a swipe gesture. Apple's patent FIG. 5i illustrates a partial time line with a series of finger gestures. FIG. 5i also illustrates the time period between two successive finger gestures.
One Method of Scrolling Speed
For more information, see Apple's patent application 20100235794. Bas Ording is noted as the sole inventor of this patent which was originally filed in Q3 2009.
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