Mac OS X to gain updating menu items?

Dec 22, 2010 - 3 Comments

mac os x active menu patent

PatentlyApple is at it again, this time they discovered a patent for automatically updating Mac OS X menu items. The idea is somewhat simple; given items in pull down menus would be actively updating, and text or data would scroll in that menu item.

The concept is not limited to pulldown menus, as PatentlyApple describes:

Although embodiments of the present invention are described primarily with respect to pull-down menus, it will be appreciated that embodiments of the invention may be implemented within other types of graphical user interface menus, such as, but not limited to, menus in which options are highlighted by a bar that is moved from one menu item to another, pop-up menus (e.g. a menu activated by clicking an on-screen button), contextual menus (a menu that appears temporarily when a mouse button is right clicked on a selection; once a selection is made from a contextual menu, the menu usually disappears), cascading menus (a submenu that opens when a choice from another menu is selected), tear-off menus (a pop-up menu that can be moved around the screen like a window), etc.

As you can see in the picture below, the patent application shows an example using a status item where the message would be too small to fit without scrolling. Additionally the menu items content is presumed to update live.

mac updating menu patent

While not quite as flashy as the spiral interface that may replace Cover Flow, this would be an interesting feature to have in Mac OS X Lion. Remember, a patent does not guarantee an appearance in anything so this feature should be considered a rumor at this point.

You can see more pictures and read more about the discovery at PatentlyApple.


Related articles:

Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS, Rumor


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  1. Dave says:

    Isn’t this just the ticker-tape effect already in use on mobile phone menu GUIs ? It’s been around years.

  2. utahnix says:

    Patent reform, anyone?

  3. Dale says:

    I could see this being used in iTunes menus to scroll media data, and certainly in iOS to scroll data within the tighter screen space. If you notice the patent doesn’t specifically mention Mac OS X or iOS so it’s quite possible it would appear in both, and why not?

    This also may be part of a much larger idea, Apple isn’t going to file for a patent with anything that might give away their true intentions, so they just show a picture of presumably iChat and someones idle time scrolling by.

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