updated 11:30 am EST, Wed January 6, 2010
Could apply to iPhones, iPods, tablets
A recently-published Apple patent application suggests the introduction of 3D into some future multi-touch interfaces. Originally submitted on September 29th, 2008, the filing describes a graphical interface with 3D objects, and means of manipulating them using various gestures. Some diagrams show the interface operating on an iPhone-like device.
While many third-party iPhone and iPod apps support interaction with 3D objects, Apple's own multi-touch interfaces have so far been 2D, though the Cover Flow album browser implements some 3D rendering. The company could be looking to implement more significant 3D in iPhone 4.0, and/or for the tablet expected to be announced later this month. Apple is, however, known to regularly file for patents on concepts which may not bear fruit for years, if ever.