During Apple's WWDC 2015 Keynote Craig Federighi showed us that in iOS 9 we'll be able to finally use real multitasking on our iPad. Federighi presented us with Picture-in-Picture, Split View and Slide Over multitasking features. Today, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals yet another multitasking methodology called the "Pop-Up View." Whether this latest multitasking feature will make it in time for iOS 9 is unknown at this time.
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 screen displays. Such surfaces are widely used to select, launch, and manage software applications.
For electronic devices with touch screen displays, existing methods for managing and interacting with concurrently open applications are cumbersome and inefficient. For example, a user may have difficulty seeing and interacting with the currently open applications. This situation creates a significant cognitive burden on a user. In addition, existing methods for managing and interacting with currently open applications take longer than necessary, thereby wasting energy. This latter consideration is particularly important in battery-operated devices.
Apple Invents Advanced Multitasking for iDevices
Apple's invention is about providing iDevice users with advanced multitasking methods and more efficient methods and interfaces for managing and interacting with concurrently open applications. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace convention al methods for managing and interacting with concurrently open applications. Such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface.
In accordance with some embodiments, a method is performed at a first electronic device with a touch-sensitive display. The method includes, while in a first mode, displaying on the touch-sensitive display a first application view that corresponds to a first application in a plurality of applications. The first application view is displayed without concurrently displaying an application view for any other application in the plurality of applications.
The method also includes detecting a first input, and, in response to detecting the first input: entering a second mode distinct from the first mode, wherein the second mode is configured for interacting with popup views and selecting one of the applications for display of a corresponding application view; displaying in a first predefined area an initial group of application icons that correspond to at least some of the plurality of applications; and concurrently displaying at least a portion of the first application view adjacent to the first predefined area. The method further includes, while in the second mode: detecting, in the first predefined area, a first touch gesture of a first type on a first application icon that corresponds to a second application in the plurality of applications; and, in response to detecting the first touch gesture of the first type on the first application icon, displaying a first popup view partially covering at least the portion of the first application view.
The first popup view corresponds to a full-screen-width view of a corresponding second application on a second electronic device having a touch-sensitive display with lower resolution than the touch-sensitive display of the first electronic device. The method also includes detecting one or more second touch gestures within the first popup view; and, in response to detecting the one or more second touch gestures within the first popup view, performing an action in the second application that updates a state of the second application.
Apple's patent FIG. 5J noted above illustrates a response to detecting a touch gesture of the first type on the calculator application icon (#506-4), a calculator application view is displayed in pop up view 510 on touch screen (#112-1) of first electronic device #100-1. The popup view partially covers the portion of web browser application view #502-7.
This is a great feature. I don't know how many times a day I go to the calculator in a separate app and have to flip back and forth to work with figures. In the future, I'll be able to stay on my current webpage, tap on the bottom of the page to bring up my commonly used productivity apps and then simply click on the calculator icon to have it pop-up and stay on the same page until I'm down with my calculation. Of course it applies to a lot of other scenarios for music, documents, notes, maps and so much more.
While the basics of this multitasking method is noted above, Apple's patent application is jam packed with other examples of how multitasking with maps and other applications will function. To explore this patent, click here.
Apple credits May-Li Khoe, Daniel Coster, Jeffrey Bernstein, Nicholas Zambetti and Imran Chaudhri as the inventors of patent application 20150169182 which was originally filed in Q3 2014.
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