User Created iOS Widgets Are Coming to iPhone, Apple Patent Suggests

Jun 22, 2011 - 4 Comments

iOS 5 Widgets

Soon users may not need to jailbreak in order to get custom widgets on the iPhone with iOS 5. At least, that’s what a recent patent granted to Apple suggests.

Multiple references of widgets, custom widgets, and user created widgets using a “widget creator module” are reference in the patent listing on the US Patent Office site (emphasis mine):

The GPS module 135 determines the location of the device and provides this information for use in various applications (e.g., to telephone 138 for use in location-based dialing, to camera 143 and/or blogger 142 as picture/video metadata, and to applications that provide location-based services such as weather widgets, local yellow page widgets, and map/navigation widgets).

The applications 136 may include the following modules (or sets of instructions), or a subset or superset thereof: … widget modules 149, which may include weather widget 149-1, stocks widget 149-2, calculator widget 149-3, alarm clock widget 149-4, dictionary widget 149-5, and other widgets obtained by the user, as well as user-created widgets149-6; widget creator module 150 for making user-created widgets

This diagram from the patent displays widget references as well, including the Stocks and Weather widgets which are already included in iOS 5 beta (seen in the screen shot at the top of this post):

Widgets mentioned in iPhone patent

Other widgets are clearly mentioned, including a calculator, alarm clock, dictionary, and again there are references to “User-Created Widget(s)” and “Widget Creator Module”. That seems to indicate that it may be possible to create custom widgets directly on the iPhone itself, possibly similar to the Safari Web Clip tool that easily creates widgets for the Mac OS X Dashboard.

The initial patent was discovered by PatentlyApple, and has since caused a lot of noise on the web for other reasons, but speculation on a patents reach is not what caught my interest.

User created widgets in iOS 5 for iPad and iPhone without a jailbreak? Maybe even a widget store in iTunes? It’s just a patent so consider it a rumor, but let’s hope so. More customization is always a good thing.

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Posted by: Matt Chan in iPad, iPhone

4 Comments

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  1. Darren says:

    I doubt we’ll see a widget store or even a central repository for them, but there’s probably a fair chance you’ll be able to pin minimal apps to the Notification Center.

  2. James says:

    Well, if Apple does allow widgets or any kind of iDevice mods, you can be very sure they’ll keep tight control over it. So, I would expect a central repository managed by the iron fist of Cupertino. :)

  3. Listen2Me says:

    If this is true, and you want to make a stack of cash, listen closely.

    CREATE A CALENDAR WIDGET!!!!

    I can’t believe that your current day’s appointments don’t appear by default in the notification center. Anyone who uses iCal will clearly feel things have fallen short here. Any way, here’s a chance for someone to sell several million widgets for $0.99ea – start your XCoding!

    • SD says:

      And if you don’t know Xcode, then contact me at sales at agicent dot com, we’ll develop that app for you. ;)

      BRs
      -Singh

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