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Apple files patent on translucent windows

updated 11:35 am EDT, Sat May 15, 2004

New Apple patent filing

Apple has recently filed a that automatically adjust the opacity as information is updated (or not updated): "overlaid, Information-bearing windows whose contents remain unchanged for a predetermined period of time become translucent. The translucency can be graduated so that, over time, if the window's contents remain unchanged, the window becomes more translucent. In addition to visual translucency, windows according to the present invention also have a manipulative translucent quality. Upon reaching a certain level of visual translucency, user input in the region of the window is interpreted as an operation on the underlying objects rather than the contents of the overlaying window."

by MacNN Staff





  1. djjava

    Joined: Dec 1969


    that's cool..

    can't wait to see that in action in Tiger

  1. Thain Esh Kelch

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wonder what that is gonna be used for...

  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    See it in action today...

    ...partially, at least:

    Press the "volume up," "volume down," "mute," or "eject" key on your keyboard. You'll get a fading, translucent window that passes mouse clicks through to the window beneath it. All that Apple needs to add is the ability to for mouse clicks to affect those settings when the window is unfaded, and that would be basically what the patent would cover.

    I wonder what uses they've come up with for those, besides visual command feedback? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

  1. @ho

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I will love that

    For example when you iSync the ipod and mobile phone instead of closing the program the window can fade when not in use for a period of time so it wont clutter your desktop but it still be open or close the aplication if no window is open.

    As said on a previous post similar as volume and keyboard light a translucent window came and go.

    Apple is doing the right thing by pattenting everything possible so it wont happen on Longhorn as a brand new feature for the windows world, well, in 2009 when the complete idea of the new operating system will be used in new computers Apple have done several new and cool things that improve the way you work, remember in the 10.1 translucency was a big part of the new things but now is less visible and only were you really need it, this improve the system performance.

  1. ghost_flash

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Longhorn uses that technology doesn't it? I guess they'll have to do something else.. :D

  1. chas_m



    Cross-patent agreement

    Sorry fellows, but Apple and MS have a cross-patent agreement that allows the other to license patented technology.

    Amount of Apple technology in Windows (and Longhorn): Enormous
    Amount of Windows technology in OS X: Negligible

  1. kagudesu

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Windows that get out of your way!

    If I read this right, this will help designers and peoepl who work with a lot of windows open. It seems like that those windows can remain open, but if you need something on the desktop, you can just grab it without having to hide minimize windows or hide apps.

    This could be a real timesaver.

  1. johnhood

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It'll be excellent to see this extended beyond the volume icon...

  1. Obi-Wandreas

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Office 2004

    During the MW2004 Keynote, when they were previewing Word 2004, the tools pallete became translucent after a period of nonuse. Doesn't this interefere with Apple filing the patent?

  1. bauhaus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no patent

    Apple shouldn't be granted a patent on this. It's too broad. The only thing they should be allowed is the
    "through the transparent windows" actions, where actions are passed to underlying windows. Everything else has prior art and Apple is just getting too patent happy.

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