updated 03:35 pm EST, Thu January 12, 2012
Would cope with issues of using 3D on handhelds
A newly-published Apple patent application suggests the concept of a motion-controlled 3D interface for iOS devices, namely the iPhone, notes AppleInsider. Titled Sensor Based Display Environment, the filing claims that implementing 3D polygonal interfaces on a touchscreen device can be difficult, owing to factors like screen size, and the need to both hold a device and change perspectives in the interface.
Apple's solution involves using motion sensors to judge a "perspective projection of the 3D display environment," and treat a handheld's display as an "imaginary camera viewfinder," much like augmented reality apps. In the case of the proposed interface, though, people might scan around an entirely virtual space populated by objects serving as menu items. To make the interface faster, preset actions such as shaking a device could cause the interface to "snap" to a particular view.
The patent application was originally submitted in July 2010, and is credited to just a single inventor, Patrick Piedmonte. Apple has considered the idea of 3D OS environments in the past, but has so far left them out of OS X and iOS.