updated 09:50 am EDT, Thu April 16, 2009
iPhone motion patent
One of the ideas Apple has been contemplating for the iPhone, a newly-published patent application suggests, is a motion-adapted interface. Apple notes that while the phone's interface may be fine while sitting or standing, it can suddenly become much harder to use while walking or running, as a result of either shaking or sweat. Compounding problems may be distractions, such as a jogging route.
A proposed solution involves the use of the iPhone's motion sensor, which could allow the hardware to detect when its owner is traveling. The interface would then be instructed to change some of its elements to be more forgiving, for instance by increasing the size of rows in the Contacts display. App icons could be enlarged proportionately to the amount of vibration, as could keys on the on-screen keyboard.
The filing further proposes rearranging icons on the Home screen, in part to accommodate larger icon sizes but also based on predictions of where a person might try and tap.
An unusual aspect of the patent is the depiction of a front-facing video camera, which is missing from current iPhones and has not even been rumored for new models expected this summer. Some form of video recording is expected, but front-facing cameras are most commonly associated with video calling, as yet unsuggested by leaks.