Apple Takes Continuity to another Level with Overlapping User Interfaces between Devices
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to what appears to be 'Continuity' on steroids wherein devices may be positioned so that the displays of the devices overlap each other using position sensors and more.
Position Sensors For System With Overlapped Displays
According to Apple, a system may include electronic devices that communicate wirelessly. The devices may include displays. In some arrangements, devices may be positioned so that the displays of the devices overlap. When positioned so that a pair of devices overlap or are adjacent to one another, the devices may operate in a linked mode.
During linked operations, devices may communicate wirelessly while input gathering and content displaying operations are shared among the devices. For example, a user may seamlessly move a pointer that is present on the display of a first device to the display of a second device. Using the pointer or other shared user input arrangements, content may be moved between devices (e.g., a file on one display may be dragged and dropped onto another display, thereby sharing the file between devices).
One or more devices in the system may have sensors. A capacitive sensor or other sensor may be used to measure the relative position between two devices when the two devices overlap each other.
Content displaying operations and other linked mode operations may be performed based on the measured relative position between the two devices. For example, content that is to be presented to a user may be apportioned between the displays of the overlapping devices based on the relative position between the devices.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 below is a front view of a pair electronic devices, iPhone and MacBook, wirelessly communicating with each other. The iPhone's UI is displayed on the MacBook Virtually and can interact with the trackpad or mouse; FIGS. 3 and 4 are flow charts of illustrative operations involved in operating electronic devices in a linked mode.
In Apple's patent FIG. 8 above, we see a front view of an iMac structure configured to receive an iPhone in two ways. The first method is to have the iPhone magnetically attach to the side of the iMac. The second method is for the iPhone to sit in a new recess built into a future iMac stand. A user will be able to use their devices to share and work together using the standard continuity methodology.
Apple further notes that radio-frequency sensors, position, orientation, and/or motion sensors, force sensors, temperature sensors, magnetic sensors, and/or other sensors may be used in gathering relative position information.
For more details, review Apple's patent application # US 20230029049 A1.
- Paul Wang: Senior Manager, Product Design
- Tianye Sun: Software Engineer
- David Chang (Z. H. Zhang): Analog/Mixed Signal Design
- Dominic McCarthy: Engineer
- Eric Shyr: Product Design Engineer (Also babysits robots and feeds them specs)
- John Morrell: Director, Engineering (Former Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering at Yale University)