A new patent application from Apple hints at scrollable menus and toolbars in future versions of Mac OS X and iOS. The company filed the patent in Europe, according to a report from PatentlyApple, and while nothing in the patent ties the inventions to Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion,” speculation on the Internet quickly leapt to the idea that they will indeed make a maned appearance.
The basic idea behind the inventions is that pulldown menus and toolbars don’t have to show all their available options at one time. The patent application shows different methods of scrolling, including touch-based methods and mouse-based methods, as well as different kinds of menu formats, from pulldowns to circular coverflow-like menus.
The two images below show three figures from Apple’s patent application. The first two figures demonstrates side-scrolling menus in Mac OS X and iOS. The second figure demonstrates the idea of scrollable circular menus.
The patent was filed as an International Patent Application in Europe during the second quarter of 2010, and it was published on November 4th. PatentlyApple has several more images and an in-depth look at the details of the patent.
Figures 19 and 21 showing scrollable menus in Mac OS X and iOS
Figure 14, demonstrating circular menus