3D desktop revealed in recent Apple patent filing

Dozens of Apple patent applications were published lately revealing research that Apple had completed in 2007 on many topics encompassing future versions of Mac OS X.

The most intriguing is a series of patent applications which describe a "Multidimensional" user interface. Apple has essentially been working on true 3D desktop environments.

It's not clear when and if Apple will decide to implement these new 3D desktop design ideas into a future version of Mac OS X. The 3D desktop idea suggests that Apple would take their existing Mac OS components like the dock, dashboard, add more depth and give a three dimensional look.

Apple's next major version of Mac OS X (10.6) is due in the first quarter of 2009 and will primarily focus on "under the hood" changes to boost performance.


Image Courtesy : MacRumours.com

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Those of you who have a webcam do a search for touchless at microsoft's website try the demo then combine it with this interface and you have something workable

Touchless is multitouch (less) in the air using a webcam and your fingers

Well, I have actually seen a 3D Desktop your imitations are exactly what my friend created it didn't work out at all. However, that was a few years ago, I am sure you could do much cooler and creative things now.

It may seem dumb how you think it may look. But it may be good through another way!.

The idea of a 3D desktop is stupid, and is just another way to grab attention. A 3D desktop will not increase productivity, it will not improve the GUI, it's nothing but more fecking iCandy. I'm also fed up with Microsoft sh*tting up the taskbar. Why don't they both just stick with the K.I.S.S. concept. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Does nobody else get the fact that 3d interfaces just plain dont work on 2D devices! When proper 3D display technology is released, then sure, its worth looking into, but trying to cram that much multi-directional content on a restricted 2d display is just stupid.

Antaris said,
Does nobody else get the fact that 3d interfaces just plain dont work on 2D devices! When proper 3D display technology is released, then sure, its worth looking into, but trying to cram that much multi-directional content on a restricted 2d display is just stupid.

Finally someone mentioned the most obvious problem with 3D desktops. It only took 14+ comments to do it.

spacer said,
Finally someone mentioned the most obvious problem with 3D desktops. It only took 14+ comments to do it.


Quick! Tell Apple that ASAP! I'm sure they haven't considered that at all!

LOL!

If anyone knows how to make a UI, it's Apple.

This is the worst idea ever! It's been done before. I remember that Packard Bell had an interface (can't remember the name) that was a couple of rooms that allowed you to basically use them as an interface, instead of Windows. It sucked. I always booted straight into Windows.

The only idea I have seen, and actually liked, was a cube shape with a desktop on every side (6 in total). You could either use one huge desktop and flip/rotate the cube in a pretty 3D way to get to the rest of your icons, or use the 6 sides for up to 6 individually customised desktops.

I forwarded this link to Steve Mobs - he said he is trashing the idea of 3d desktop as it is not sexy enough and going to go 1 better.
A 4D desktop!!!
He said he would get on this as soon as he got done peeing on some more MyPhones

This reminds me of the new Simpsons episode where Lisa visits Steve Mobs (Jobs) about her music bill and he's goofing with a 3D concept.

Apple can't or shouldn't be allowed to patent it as they didn't invent the 3D desktop because it already exists. 3DNA is a 3D Desktop for windows. See http://www.3dna.net/

Their are also several docks available for Windows, so what would happen to them if Apple gets it patented?

Davin said,
Apple can't or shouldn't be allowed to patent it as they didn't invent the 3D desktop because it already exists. 3DNA is a 3D Desktop for windows. See http://www.3dna.net/

Their are also several docks available for Windows, so what would happen to them if Apple gets it patented?


Jesus christ, they're not patenting the "idea" of a 3D desktop, but the actual implementation they're using of it.

Exactly. I wonder how many other 3D desktop patents I could fine if I put effort into it.

This is relevant because it is the first patent about it from a company that could push it mainstream. And as someone who has used Microsoft BOB... no, this is nothing like that.

This is why software patents shouldn't be allowed. There is nothing "new" in the idea of a 3D interface; nothing has been "invented" or "discovered", as in the usual definition of a patent. Apple is simply the first to try to implement or protect such an idea. All this does is restrict the competition.

Even Flip3D is a 3D interface and Sun has Looking Glass. The ideas Apple is attempting to patent are simply too trivial, seemingly with the sole intent of suppressing competition rather than protecting innovation.

theyarecomingforyou said,
This is why software patents shouldn't be allowed. There is nothing "new" in the idea of a 3D interface; nothing has been "invented" or "discovered", as in the usual definition of a patent. Apple is simply the first to try to implement or protect such an idea. All this does is restrict the competition.

Personally, I think Apple goes into detail enough to exclude patenting abstract ideas and hurting competition. For example, their patent application involves their Dock. The more specific a patent application is, the more they're excluding other ideas, and it's the general abstract stuff I'd be worried about. I've seen much worse examples than this. :S

Jugalator said,
LMAO, that desktop is still 2D though. Just painted as 3D. ;)

Which is exactly how Apple are doing this, layer upon layer is still 2D.

Real 3D maybe possible when you will have ... 3 walls to look around....

I agree, I don't see how Apple can get this patent through. Some of the very early Xerox/Parc desktops had a 2D desktop with dimensional effects. Both MS and Apple stole all their GUI ideas from Xerox/Parc.

I think I see what they wanna do with these stacks in the Dock. Say you have 3 Word documents, instead of making the dock bigger, maybe you could hover onto the Word icon and scroll with the mouse to the window you want? Anyways...

Not that they will do this for Snow Leopard. If anything, they'll do this for Mac OS XI in 2 years or more (according to me, much more). They have plenty of time to think about it, and to validate : is it improving anything, or is it just bad? Probably bad, but Apple being Apple, they might make miracles with this, add little twists that will make it useable.

"multiple dimension" UI's are damn horrible. They were all the rave back in 2000 or so but they're simple fugly and too unconventional to put any actual use or purpose to them at all. They better throw this at the bottom of the pile and forget about it.

Digix said,
"multiple dimension" UI's are damn horrible. They were all the rave back in 2000 or so but they're simple fugly and too unconventional to put any actual use or purpose to them at all. They better throw this at the bottom of the pile and forget about it.

I hear ya..however Apple being Apple, it will probably be damn sexy and quite usable

+Digix said,
"multiple dimension" UI's are damn horrible. They were all the rave[sic] back in 2000 or so but they're simple fugly and too unconventional to put any actual use or purpose to them at all. They better throw this at the bottom of the pile and forget about it.

All the rage.

The technology has improved a lot since then. This could be good.

I am more concerned about apple being successfully granted a patent for something that many people must have at least visualized before.

I have to agree with both of you, Apple will make it look sexy and quite usable, but still 3D? Sounds a little dreamy, they should be thinking about pushing game developers to develop on Mac OS X, not make Mac OS X too bloated to run a game. Too dreamy, sounds like something to set aside for the 30th century...you know...when we have cables connected to our brains that give us energy so we don't have to sleep, and when we can fly, and when everything seems so easy and flying is the new walking. Apple makes several things cool, but come on, 3D, sounds like it will be the only thing that Apple can't make as usable as it looks cool. Why not an iMac with a multi-touch screen, even that sounds better, and like a direction Apple would go.

shakey_snake said,
It's not like the dock is particularly usable:
http://www.asktog.com/columns/044top10docksucks.html

Pretty much all of them have been addressed through Quick Look and stacks. Folders aren't folders, they show thumbnails of what's in them, and files aren't just icons, they are also thumbnails.

Plus, dragging something off the dock doesn't delete it. Just takes it off the dock. Everything in the dock is a shortcut, unless you actually go into a stack. Drag something from a stack to the desktop, it actually goes to the desktop.

So that article is a bit too old to be relevant. Leopard reinvented the dock.

simon360 said,

Pretty much all of them have been addressed through Quick Look and stacks. Folders aren't folders, they show thumbnails of what's in them, and files aren't just icons, they are also thumbnails.

Plus, dragging something off the dock doesn't delete it. Just takes it off the dock. Everything in the dock is a shortcut, unless you actually go into a stack. Drag something from a stack to the desktop, it actually goes to the desktop.

So that article is a bit too old to be relevant. Leopard reinvented the dock.


I was thinking the same thing. "The trash should be in the corner," how lame is that one? Personally I HATE the Windows taskbar (Windows 7's looks a lot better though). OS X's dock is far better in my opinion. Yes I realize they are different in execution.