updated 11:04 am EDT, Tue July 16, 2013
Concepts not used in any shipping Apple apps
Apple has won the rights to a US patent for "virtual drafting tools," notes AppleInsider. The tools would be based on a multi-touch interface such as that on the iPad, and give people access to things like rulers, protractors, and stencils without returning to a menu away from the actual drawing. The number and position of simultaneous touch points might determine which tool appears; tools would either stay active temporarily or require a user to dismiss them.
While active, tools would enable more gestures for tasks like drawing, scaling, resizing. Shapes and lines might have a "snap to" function to handle some drawing automatically. Apple also suggests the possibility of custom tools, and/or using multiple tools simultaneously on the same image.
The patent dates back to 2010, and is credited to Nicholas V. King. Apple has yet to use the concept in iOS or any of its iPad apps. The company has instead concentrated on things like audio, photo, video, and document editing.