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Apple Reveals a New Photo Editing User Interface for the iPad

1. Cover - Apple, New Slider Control UI for iPad for editing
A patent application from Apple surfaced earlier this month in Europe revealing a new Korean patent filing. The patent was originally secretly filed in the US in 2011 under the names of the inventors without showing an assignee. In that way, a search for Apple's new patent filing in the US Patent Office's database would never reveal the original filing. The Korean filing covering the same invention now reveals that Apple is the assignee. Whether the secrecy is warranted or not is another matter. Apple's invention reveals an Aperture and/or iPhoto user interface designed for the iPad that uses a new method for editing photo brightness, color saturation, contrast and more. The new UI will offer users a sophisticated pop-up menu and sub-menu system.

Apple's New Photo Editing UI for iPad


In its most simplest form, Apple's invention provides a new and novel two-dimensional slider control in a graphical user interface (GUI). The two-dimensional slider control includes a sliding region and several sliders or slider shapes. In these embodiments, the slider shapes can each be movably positioned within the sliding region in order to select a value from a range of values.


In some embodiments, each slider shape is associated with an operation. A user can control the operation associated with a slider shape by movably positioning the slider shape within the sliding region to select a value from a range of values for the operation.


The user can control multiple operations by movably positioning multiple sliders in the single sliding region. Moreover, by serving as one region for placing multiple slider shapes that define multiple attributes, the user can observe multiple operations being controlled and get a feel of multiple slider shape adjustments made at different points in time.


Apple's patent filing is deep in examples of how this new edition GUI will be able to be used in a future version of Aperture or iPhoto that is also like to work with future versions of other editing apps such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.


Our report only illustrates a few of the basics associated with this new GUI due to its complexity.


Color Correction Operations


Jumping right into Apple's patent, we start at patent FIG. 8 where we see a conceptual illustration of a color correction operation using a new GUI for a media editing application used on an iPad that includes a two-dimensional slider control.


Specifically, this figure illustrates the GUI at three different stages noted as #805, #810 and #815 in the patent figure below that shows a brightness operation performed using the two-dimensional slider control.


As shown, the slider shape tool box includes slider shape generators positioned on the left side of the iPad's UI noted as numbers 830 through to 855. They're for generating slider shapes for performing color correction operations.


2. Apple patent figure 8 - color correction for brightness

Specifically, the slider shape generator 830 generates slider shapes for applying a sharpness operation, as indicated by its "SH" label.


The slider shape generator 835 generates slider shapes for applying a saturation operation, as indicated by its "S" label.


The slider shape generator 840 generates slider shapes for applying a contrast operation, as indicated by its "C" label.


The slider shape generator 845 generates slider shapes for applying a brightness operation, as indicated by its "H" label.


The slider shape generator 850 generates slider shapes for applying a color cast operation, as indicated by its "CC" label.


The slider shape generator 855 generates slider shapes for applying a skin tone saturation operation, as indicated by its "ST" label.


While the slider shape tool box 825 shows slider shape generators that each generate slider shapes that apply a particular color correction operation, other embodiments may define the slider shape generators to generate slider shapes that apply different color correction operations.


The viewing area on the right side of the UI is for displaying an image such as a photo to be edited and for displaying color corrections that are applied to the image.


The new GUI illustrated in patent FIG. 21A shows us that the user will be able to call up a feature selection that provides an optional sub-menu (#2055) of a pop-up menu (#2050). Different embodiments invoke the pop-up and sub-menus differently.



The new UI is designed with the iPad in mind. Apple states that "Specifically, these embodiments can be implemented on a tablet computing device (e.g., an Apple iPad) with a touchscreen input device. With a touchscreen input device, a user can simultaneously perform multiple selection operations.


Although the entire patent application's "detailed description" area is deadly focused on photo editing, the fact is that the patent claims don't limit the invention to that parameter. So Apple leaves the door open for the new GUI to be applied to other types of applications in the future.


Apple's patent application was secretly filed under the names of Apple engineers back in mid-2010. The existence of this invention came to light when it was published in Korea under patent number KR20130073942 where Apple is now shown to be the assignee. This form of secrecy has been used many times by Apple so at to keep key product ideas under wraps until need be. But like any patent application, the timing of this idea or any part of it is unknown at this time.


In the end, I think that those familiar with Apple's Aperture application will appreciate being able to work on their favorite editing app in new ways on an iPad.


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Related Material: Apple Patent Reveals Aperture Coming to Touch Display Devices



Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac asked the question: "isn't this just iPhoto."

I have iPhoto on my iPad and while I'm no expert at editing, I don't have access to sub-menus of any kind that I'm aware of. I don't have a side bar as noted in the patent graphics or a window for editing like is illustrated in the patent. If you can get sub-menu's in iPhoto Mark, let me know.

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