Filed under “Device, method, and graphical user interface for management and manipulation of user interface elements,” a new patent application has been granted to Apple Inc. this week.Buried deep in patent jargon are the terms “magnification loupe” and “small user interface elements,” which immediately brings to mind the magnifying glass effect invoked by Apple’s mobile software whenever you want to edit some text.
The filing, available at the US Patent & Trademark office, describes one embodiment in which “a magnifying loupe is displayed based on the context associated with a finger-based gesture on a touch-sensitive surface.”
The description continues with an example on behalf of Apple Inc. proposing that the software pops up this magnification loupe “when one or more user interface elements corresponding to the location of the gesture on the touch-sensitive surface is smaller than a predefined size threshold.”
Apple then carefully points out that said loupe “is not displayed when the user interface elements corresponding to the location of the gesture on the touch-sensitive surface are larger than the predefined size threshold.”
Another embodiment is described, with Apple stating that “the magnification power of the loupe varies based on the size of the one or more user interface elements corresponding to the location of the gesture on the touch-sensitive surface.”
As usual, the patent and its disclosed embodiments relate to computing devices in general, and to “computing devices and methods for managing and manipulating user interface content and small user interface elements,” more particularly.
The credited inventors are Ian Patrick McCullough (from Wilkinsburg, PA), and Peter Glen Berger (from Irwin, PA).
Apple forwarded the invention papers to the USPTO in December 2009, back when the iPhone 4 wasn’t even available. The invention was awarded to Apple only Tuesday, January 22, 2013.