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In the Future you may set Print Settings by shaking your iDevice

1. In the Future You may Set Print Settings by Shaking your Device
On October 4, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a new iDevice project that relates to advancing print settings. Apple's invention introduces new iDevice motions to define print settings quick and easy. Apple also reveals a new side menu for printing options that could be quite useful in quickly identifying which pages to print and which types of paper stocks to print your content on. As Apple's iDevices continue to move into the enterprise and deeper into the offices of the Fortune 500, advancing print options on iDevices is exactly what the doctor ordered.


Apple's Patent Background


An electronic device can be used to provide content, such as different types of documents, to a user. The content can be displayed on an electronic device display (e.g., a screen or projector). Using an input interface, the user can interact with displayed content to create, modify or edit, or revise the content, for example in combination with functions or features of applications providing the content. In some cases, however, a user may wish to print hard copy (e.g., on paper or another medium) of the content (e.g., to edit a printed text document using a writing instrument, or to share a hard copy of a photograph). To do so, the user can direct the electronic device to identify and select a printer (e.g., receive a user selection from a pull down menu). In some cases, the user can define settings defining a manner in which the content is printed. Defining and/or changing settings from a portable device, however, may prove to be difficult.


A New Way to Define Print Settings


Apple's patent relates to systems, methods, and computer-readable media for defining print settings for content based on the amount and direction of movement of a device from which the content is printed. In addition, the invention relates to systems, methods, and computer-readable media for defining print settings based on one or more inputs provided on a touch input interface, where the input(s) is at least initially independent from displayed print setting options.


Some electronic devices can include displays on which content is provided, and input interfaces for interacting with the content. In some devices, an input interface can, in part, be integrated within a display. For example, a device can include a touch screen provided on a display. When the size of the display is small, or when the content is large relative to the display, there may be insufficient space to display selectable print settings for defining the desired manner in which the content is to be printed. Alternatively, although a print settings overlay can be displayed, the options in the overlay may be small and difficult to select. An alternative approach for defining print settings may be advantageous.


Using Motion to Define Print Settings


Apple states that inn some embodiments, the motion of the electronic device can be used to define print settings. The electronic device can include one or more motion sensing components for detecting and identifying particular motions or movements of the device. For example, the electronic device can include an accelerometer and/or a gyroscope that provides signals related to the motion of the device. Particular motions of the device can be associated with print settings.


In some cases, motion can be associated with a print settings mode, which must be enabled before the user can define print settings. When the electronic device is moved in a particular manner, the motion sensing component can provide an output describing the motion. The device can then compare the motion sensing component output, or the corresponding motion with a library of outputs or motions each associated with a print setting.


In response to identifying the particular print setting associated with a detected motion, the electronic device can define the identified print setting. When the content is provided to a printer system, the defined print setting can also be provided to specify the manner in which the content is printed.


2. Shaking the iDevice to Enable the Print Setting Mode


Apple's patent FIG. 6 shows an illustrative display for indicating that a print settings mode is enabled. Menu 620 can include instructions 622 indicating to a user how to move the device to enable the print settings mode. For example, the instructions can direct the user to shake the device. The menu can include a diagram of the device 624 with arrows 626 indicating how to move the device. When a motion sensor detects movement of the device that corresponds to movement associated with the print settings mode, the electronic device can enable the print settings mode.


Flip & Shake an iDevice to cancel a Print Setting


3. Flip & Shake an iDevice to cancel a print setting


In some cases, a user will be able to move the electronic device to cancel or undo a previously defined setting. Apple's patent FIGS. 8A and 8B shown above are schematic views showing how an illustrative device can be used to cancel a print setting. Content can be provided on display 810 of electronic device 802 which is an iPad. The user can flip the iPad from back to front as indicated above and once flipped over, the user can shake their iPad, as indicated by symbols 832, to cancel or undo a print setting.


Selecting a Page Range of Pages to Print


Apple's patent FIG. 12 shown below is a schematic view of an iPad that can be used to select a page range of pages to print using a new print tool menu.


4. Selecting a Page Range of Pages to Print


Apple states that some content that is displayed by an electronic device can be provided as several pages of a document. For example, a user can direct an electronic device to display a multi-page text document or presentation. When a user prints a multi-page document, the user may not wish to print every page, but may instead wish to print a specific range of pages of the document.


The iPad or Device 1200 can display content which a user wishes to print which can include a particular page of a several page document. For example, content 1212 can correspond to an image of an album, a page of text of a text document, a slide of a presentation, or any other such content. In some cases, the content can include content from several pages (e.g., two pages of content in a column view, or parts of two consecutive pages).


New Quick and Easy Templates


5. Quick and Easy Templates


Different types of content can be optimally printed on different types of substrates (e.g., flat or glossy paper, labels, or envelopes). Different approaches can be used to ensure that the proper type of paper is used to print content. In some cases, the user can select a paper size using inputs provided to the device. Apple's patent FIGS. 16A and 16B noted above are schematic views of utilizing a device for selecting a paper size and could provide paper templates from which the user can select.


In some cases, a user may wish to print several pages of the document on a single piece of paper. To do so, the user can define a print distribution setting specifying the number of pages to place on each printed piece of paper. Any suitable input can correspond to the print distribution setting. For example, a user can provide an input to define the number of pages to place on the piece of paper. In particular, the user can define a grid on display 1310 that represents a particular number of pages.


6. Selecting a Print Distribution Setting


In the example of Apple's patent FIG. 13A, a user can draw parallel horizontal lines 1320 and 1322, and parallel vertical lines 1324 and 1326. The lines can intersect to create nine distinct regions, each corresponding to a different page. The user can draw any suitable pattern on the display to define different pages. In addition, the position of each drawn line can define the distribution of pages in the printout. For example, one horizontal line and two vertical lines can be drawn to create two lines of three pages. As another example, two horizontal lines and one vertical line can be drawn to create three lines of two pages each.


Patent Credits


Apple's patent application which was published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office was originally filed in Q4 2010 by inventors Howard Miller, David Gelphman and Richard Blanchard JR.


There are a lot of details to dive into in this patent that are not covered in our report. To check them all out, see patent application 20120250072


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