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Apple is developing a 3D Mac UI

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Apple Insider has an extensive look at an Apple patent filing that could point to some interesting innovations for future versions of the Apple OS.

The drawings showcase some innovative ways that Apple could implement a 3D desktop environment on the desktop. Instead of a two dimensional interface that we have now we could see a 3D “room” as our desktop environment with walls, a floor, and a ceiling. Widgets and other things could be placed on the walls, and icons could fan our in “3D” on the floor of the desktop.

It looks interesting, and would be visually stunning, but I’m not convinced from these patent filings that it would be all that helpful. Obviously, this is just a concept at this stage, and is not something you should expect to see if Snow Leopard or anything like that. Also, until we actually see some of this in development and out there for the world to use, it’s impossible to judge its effectiveness.

Still, this is a fascinating look at a possible future for the Mac OS Desktop.

Click here to see it all.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

4 thoughts on “Apple is developing a 3D Mac UI

  1. Your 40? But your not 40 in the year 1950. Your 40 in the freakin year 2008 soon to be 2009!!
    The two dimensional GUI is yesterday’s news. You can continue to use the traditional mouse with the traditional GUI in that nursing home of yours if you want to.
    How the hell old do you think Steve Jobs is anyway?

    Like it or not….welcome to the future dude!

  2. I agree – it could look a little cluttered. But, imagine if your screen was touch sensitive and could respond to all ten of your fingers on-screen, the mouse then becomes an abstraction. If I can use my fingers to move things around my ‘desk’ and pop them to ‘walls’ just with a simple drag, it becomes a pretty useable interface. From what I’ve seen from Microsoft concerning their multi-touch desks, there hasn’t been any interface innovation, just touch input with some fancy animation. This patent seems to go a few steps further in providing an actual framework to a touch based computer interface.

    To quote Steve Jobs from the iPhone introduction:

    “We have invented a new technology called multi-touch. It works like magic, you don’t need a stylus, far more accurate than any interface ever shipped, it ignores touches, mutli-finger gestures, and BOY have we patented it!”

    My hunch is that they’re simply working on a way to get this technology over to the desktop computer – but yeah – I agree, I definitely wouldn’t want to use that interface with a mouse 🙂

  3. Hey Michael —

    I saw this a couple days ago, but just haven’t been able to get to a computer (other than my iPhone) to post this as a comment…

    Sun Microsystems already developed something like this. I remember seeing the full-length vid on Sun’s website a number of years ago, but right now the only thing I can find is a YouTube link:

    I wonder if Sun/Apple teamed up or if Apple is again stepping on another companies toes…. Looks VERY familiar to Sun came up with a number of years ago…

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