Five Original Apple Watch Interface Patents Surface Covering Current & Future Ideas
Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a series of five patent applications from Apple that are primarily related to the Apple Watch. The entire series of applications are identically titled "Context-Specific User Interfaces." The patent applications are extraordinarily detailed and carry a common set of approximately 100 patent figures.
Apple's Invention: Context-Specific User Interfaces
Most of Apple's invention relates to Apple Watch's customizable user interfaces. Apple notes that users rely on portable multifunction devices for keeping time, among a variety of other operations including running software applications. It is desirable to allow the user to access information through a single user interface while keeping the interface simple and intuitive to use.
Further, a user may want to access different types of information, such as various aspects related to keeping time, or different application data points, in different contexts. It is therefore also desirable to allow the user to customize the user interface and the types of information provided through the user interface.
In some embodiments, the device has hardware input mechanisms such as depressible buttons and/or rotatable input mechanisms (the digital crown).
In some embodiments, a method of providing context-specific user interfaces comprises: at an electronic device with a display: receiving data representing a user input, and in response to receiving the data: displaying a user interface screen on the display, the user interface screen including a clock face indicating a first time, wherein the first time precedes a current time; and updating the user interface screen by animating the clock face to transition from indicating the first time to indicating the current time, wherein the animation represents the passage of time from the first time to the current time.
In some embodiments, a method of providing context-specific user interfaces comprises: at an electronic device with a touch-sensitive display: displaying on the touch-sensitive display a clock face that indicates current time, the clock face including: a user interface object comprising an hour hand and a minute hand, wherein the user interface object indicates the current time; one or more indications of an hourly timescale; and a stopwatch hand; receiving data representing a user input; and in response to receiving the data: substituting the one or more indications of an hourly timescale with an indication of a first timescale for the stopwatch hand; and animating the stopwatch hand to reflect passage of time.
Just a Few Apple Watch User Interface Examples
In describing one future Apple Watch UI as seen in the example noted above in patent FIG. 14P, Apple notes that a character on a watch interface will be able to react to specific contacts by the user using tickling, hugging, or other forms of friendly contact.
Another future example is shown in patent FIG. 14Q above where we're able to see a character user interface object depicting speech in a speech or thought balloon. Speech may also be depicted to visually present an announcement made by a character user interface object, such as an announcement of the hour.
To review Apple's five patent applications in-depth, see applications 20160034152, 20160034166, 20160034167, 20160034148 and 20160034133 which were originally filed in July 2015. It's unknown at this time if and when any of the new features or interfaces described in these patent filings will come to market.
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