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Apple invents an iPhone Case that could automatically switch the iPhone's general UI to a customized one for Gaming, Photography+

1 Cover  new iPhone accessory case concept report


Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to electronic devices and accessories (cases & docks) that use near-field wireless communication systems to dynamically alter the operation of the electronic devices.


For example, when an iPhone is placed in a sport-focused protective case, the iPhone may, without additional user input, replace its primary graphical user interface (or any graphical user interface that is currently active) with a sport-focused interface.


As another example, when the mobile phone is placed on a speaker dock, the mobile phone may replace its primary graphical user interface with a set of audio playback controls.


As another example, a protective case for an iPhone may be configured to change the operational mode of the mobile phone in one manner, while charging docks change the operational mode of the mobile phone in another manner, while an "alarm clock" docking accessory changes the operational mode of the mobile phone in yet another manner.


The graphical user interfaces that are activated when a device is used with an accessory may therefore be customized to a particular function or set of functions that are relevant to the associated accessory.


In some cases, these graphical user interfaces may be simpler than a primary graphical user interface (e.g., having fewer and/or larger graphical objects), which may help facilitate more efficient use of the device and may be dedicated to a particular function set or operational mode of the device.


Apple's patent FIG. 1A depicts an example system including an electronic device and associated accessories; FIG. 1B depicts the device of FIG. 1A and an example accessory in use together.


2. Apple patent figs 1A  1B


Apple's patent FIG. 4 below illustrates a Car Dock. When the iPhone is inserted, the traditional UI disappears and replaced with CarPlay and Maps.


3 Apple Patent figs 4 & 5


Apple's patent FIG. 5 above illustrates two new specialized cases. One transforms the iPhone UI to one focused on camera functionality. The second is designed for gaming where added gaming button functionality has been added.


Apple's patent FIG. 6 below illustrates a Home Automation iPhone Case that alters the traditional iPhone UI to one dedicated to all things Home Automation including a TV remote; FIG. 8 provides a flow chart of the Custom Case / Docking System.


4 Apple patent figs 6 & 8


More specifically, Apple notes that the auxiliary graphical user interfaces may be created by allowing a user to select from a group of candidate graphical objects. FIG. 6, for example, illustrates an example group of candidate graphical objects, including an audio control object #600, a home automation object #602, a recipe object #604, a timer object #606, a calendar object #608, a channel guide and selection object #610, a clock object #612, a weather object #614, and a news-feed object #616.


In order to create an auxiliary graphical user interface, the user may select graphical objects from the group of candidate graphical objects, associate them with particular locations on the display of the device (e.g., defining a user-defined arrangement), and associate the auxiliary graphical user interface with a particular accessory.


The graphical objects may have input objects, output objects, or both. Notably, the user may define numerous auxiliary graphical user interfaces each with different objects or different combinations of objects (or even with the same objects in a different user-defined arrangement). For example, one auxiliary graphical user interface may include the audio control object, while another may lack the audio control object. By providing such flexibility, users can produce highly customized and relevant auxiliary user interfaces for use with numerous different docks and accessories.


For more details, review Apple's patent application number 20220150347. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


A Few of Apple's Inventors


Brian Gleeson: Human Factors Design Engineer, Interaction Designer. Brian does interaction design, research, and experience prototyping as part of the design organization at Apple. He works across Apple products, with a focus on haptics and physical interaction

Ben Jackson: Engineering Manager

Gemma Roper: Interaction Designer

Tom Hulbert: Designer


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