updated 10:00 am EST, Fri November 25, 2011
Might also see better peripheral support for iPad
A newly-published Apple patent application suggests several potential interface changes to iOS. The greatest of these is the "persistent overlay," to which users could add things like photos, music from iTunes, and links to web content. Patently Apple suggests that some descriptions appear to associate the overlay with the multitasking feature in iOS 4 and 5. Conceivably, recent or favorite media could become quickly accessible in the same way as recent apps.
The overlay could be made translucent to avoid blocking some of the content behind it. Users might also have access to multiple overlays, selected using a drop-down menu, or be able to add metadata to an item, for instance recording audio linked to an image.
Apple moreover proposes a new social networking app dubbed IDME. Users would typically drag a person's image into the app, and create an identity for them based on metadata associated with the file. This could include addresses and phone numbers, and theoretically support input data beyond photos.
One unusual aspect of the app is that it hints at extended peripheral support for the iPad. While users can currently connect Bluetooth keyboards, the patent appears to propose support for gear like the Magic Trackpad and the Magic Mouse, even though the iPad features a 9.7-inch touchscreen. Such devices can, however, offer greater precision.