On September 5, 2013, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a change in Apple's Spiral Interface Invention that is to replace Cover Flow. We first reported on Apple's Spiral Interface for iTunes back in September 2010 and by December of that year Apple provided us with more detail. In that report we illustrated a working model of that design that was invented by a French Company under the Memory-Life brand. Then in October 2012, Apple was granted a patent for this spiral design. Apple's last patent application on this project was published in June 2013 where Apple reduced their patents claims from 36 down to 1. Today, Apple further refines their patent claims once again.
Apple's latest twist to their wining granted invention revolves around their idea of the V-Shaped Interface as noted in patent FIG. 12 below.
When comparing the patent claims of Apple's previous patents, Apple has de-emphasized the spiral design as noted below and elevated the V-shape as noted above.
As you could see in Apple's patent abstract, they're emphasizing the V-Styled UI without mentioning the spiral:
"A graphical user interface made up of icons representing individual files and collectively forming the shape of a "v" is described along with methods of using and creating the graphical user interface. The v-shaped interface is useful to display detailed information about many of the items in a list and facilitates manipulation of list order and selection of the active file in the list. The interface further permits the use of a representative icon associated with the list as a whole. Manipulation of the representative icon can cause modification or replacement of the entire playlist represented by the icon."
The heart of the invention describes methods and arrangements for manipulating an iTunes playlist by providing a graphical user interface in the form of a V-shape made up of a collection of icons representing media items in the playlist.
Apple's latest application is to ensure that they have a back-up patent should they decide to pass on the spiral user interface approach. It's more of legal maneuver rather than introducing any new features to their already granted patent. The body of text is basically the same as their older patent filings covering both the V and Spiral designs. The differences found between this patent and previous ones rests with the emphasis found in their patent claims and tweaks made to their summary.
Apple credits Michael Neuman and William Bachman as the inventors of patent application 20130232414 which was originally filed in April 2013.
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