In April we reported that Apple was already testing Force Touch Display Panels for their next iPhone and on Monday we were first to report that Apple's 2016 iPad Display may use Next-Gen Touch Panel Technology using Nano Silver Wire Materials that would bring more sensitivity to iPad displays. In practice, Apple notes that with their new MacBook's "Force Touch" trackpad you can now use a Force click to enable new capabilities, like quickly looking up the definition of a word or previewing a file just by clicking and continuing to press on the trackpad. Today, we learn in a newly published patent application that Apple intends to bring their OS X "Quick Look" feature to iOS using a new "Intense" touch gesture based on integrating new intensity sensors into the display.
Apple's Patent Background
The use of touch-sensitive surfaces as input devices for computers and other electronic computing devices has increased significantly in recent years. Exemplary touch-sensitive surfaces include touch pads and touch screen displays. Such surfaces are widely used to manipulate user interface objects on a display.
Exemplary manipulations include adjusting the position and/or size of one or more user interface objects or activating buttons or opening files/applications represented by user interface objects, as well as associating metadata with one or more user interface objects or otherwise manipulating user interfaces.
Exemplary user interface objects include digital images, video, text, icons, control elements such as buttons and other graphics. A user will, in some circumstances, need to perform such manipulations on user interface objects in a file management program such as the Apple Finder; an image management application like iPhoto or other apps like iTunes, Keynote, Pages and others.
But existing methods for performing these manipulations are cumbersome and inefficient. In addition, existing methods take longer than necessary, thereby wasting energy. This latter consideration is particularly important in battery-operated devices. It's acknowledged that there is a need for electronic devices with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for manipulating user interfaces.
Apple Advances "Quick Look" Feature for iDevices using Intense Touch Gesture
Apple's invention relates to a display method that could detect intensity of contacts with the touch-sensitive surface.
Apple states that the method includes displaying a plurality of document icons, including a respective document icon corresponding to a respective electronic document associated with a respective application; and while a focus selector is over the respective document icon, detecting a gesture that includes a contact on the touch-sensitive surface. The method further includes, in response to detecting the gesture: in accordance with a determination that the contact had a maximum intensity during the gesture that was below a respective intensity threshold, displaying the electronic document in a new application window of the respective application; and in accordance with a determination that the contact reached an intensity during the gesture that was above the respective intensity threshold, displaying a preview of the respective electronic document without displaying a new application window of the respective application.
In accordance with some embodiments, a method is performed at an electronic device with a display, a touch-sensitive surface, and one or more sensors to detect intensity of contacts with the touch-sensitive surface. The method includes: displaying a frame for previewing content, where the frame corresponds to a plurality of content items; detecting movement of a contact across the touch-sensitive surface; moving a focus selector across the frame in accordance with the movement of the contact across the touch-sensitive surface; sequentially displaying, in the frame, previews of respective content items in the plurality of content items in accordance with the movement of the focus selector across the frame, where a size of the previews is constrained to a size of the frame; while a respective preview of a respective content item is displayed in the frame at a first size, detecting an increase in intensity of the contact; in response to detecting the increase in intensity of the contact, increasing the size of the respective preview to a second size larger than the size of the frame; while displaying the respective preview at the second size, detecting a decrease in intensity of the contact; and in response to detecting the decrease in intensity of the contact, reducing the size of the respective preview to the first size.
A number of different approaches to providing an intuitive user interface on a device where a clicking action is decoupled from the force that is needed to reach an activation threshold and/or the device is sensitive to a wide range of contact intensities are described in Apple's filing.
Using one or more of these approaches (optionally in conjunction with each other) helps to provide a user interface that intuitively provides users with additional information and functionality, thereby reducing the user's cognitive burden and improving the human-machine interface.
Many electronic devices allow users to interact with items such as documents. A document may reside in a folder or be attached to another document, such as an email. In some methods, if the user wants to look at the contents of the document, the user would have to open the document in the associated application. This can be tedious and wasteful of system resources, as the user may merely wish to view the document contents quickly. The embodiment noted below in patent FIG. 5N improves on these methods of interacting with documents by allowing the user to preview a document or open the document based on the intensity of a contact corresponding to a focus selector interacting with a document icon.
Apple credits Nicholas Zambetti and Jeffrey Bernstein as the inventors of patent application 20150135109 which was originally filed in Q4 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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