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Thread: Apple Patent for Multi-User Run-Anywhere Widgets

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  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Paul Daniel Ash's Avatar
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    Default Apple Patent for Multi-User Run-Anywhere Widgets


    An updated patent application may shed some light on Apple's future plans for widgets, the helpful little desktop accessories many of us have grown used to in the Mac OS X Dashboard. The application, entitled "Workflow Widgets," talks about widgets that live in the cloud and be shared by multiple computers, including Macs, Windows and Linux machines as well as mobile devices. Given that Apple specifically prohibited widget apps in its latest App Store guidelines, this may indicate a new focus on widgets in iOS as well as Mac OS X.

    Widgets have been around since Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger in the Dashboard. Offering one-button access to a sort of "alternate desktop" with frequently used mini-programs like a calendar and calculator, as well as live-updated web applications, the feature has long been rumored to make its way to iOS. However, with Fast App Switching functionality in iOS 4, much of that functionality exists with current apps. At the same time, though, widget apps were dropped from the App Store starting last year, and the new App Store guidelines released on Thursday warn that "apps that... simulate multi-app widget experiences will be rejected," indicating that Apple may be carving this turf out for itself.

    The "Workflow Widgets" patent, revealed by AppleInsider, does talk about widgets on desktop computers, Web browsers, and "multi-touch sensitive displays," which would seem to refer to iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. As the application explains, "users may find it difficult to navigate to a particular user interface element or to locate a desired element among a large number of onscreen elements. The patent would overcome this difficulty by enabling a "dashboard layer" for quick access to widgets. The widgets described in the patent go beyond the functionality of current widgets, including interactivity with multiple devices through what's called a "workflow communication manager. The application gives an example of a "Party Planner Widget," which would be a sort of interactive e-vite that allows guests to RSVP, say what food they are bringing to the party or add other information. The party planner would receive the updated information and could push those updates out to the other guests' widgets.

    The patent is credited to Scott Forstall, the Apple senior vice president of iOS software and one of the main architects on Mac OS X, as well as Apple engineers John Louch, Eric Peyton and Imran Chaudhri, who were also on the patent for Apple's ExposŤ technology.

    Source: AppleInsider

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    Livin the iPhone Life tudtran's Avatar
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    Cool

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    Green Apple crisco9071's Avatar
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    I would love to see widgets in an ios update. Android users get awesome widgets and live wallpapers and we are left out in the cold by Apple..:-(

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    Quote Originally Posted by crisco9071 View Post
    I would love to see widgets in an ios update. Android users get awesome widgets and live wallpapers and we are left out in the cold by Apple..:-(
    You can get those if u jailbreak. Cyget & nexus wallpapers

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    Green Apple
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    What's the point of widgets if you have to essentially open an app to use them? Unless I'm misunderstanding... I'm under the impression tht you click an icon to bring up a widget screen. The whole point is to have these little widgets display bite sized information on your home screens, without having to launch an app.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Levirules View Post
    What's the point of widgets if you have to essentially open an app to use them? Unless I'm misunderstanding... I'm under the impression tht you click an icon to bring up a widget screen. The whole point is to have these little widgets display bite sized information on your home screens, without having to launch an app.
    I agree.

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    Livin the iPhone Life sziklassy's Avatar
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    When I first saw this I was excited that it was something new for iOS. iOS is too dated. I am almost regretting locking myself into contract for another two years with the iPhone 4 for that very reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Levirules View Post
    What's the point of widgets if you have to essentially open an app to use them? Unless I'm misunderstanding... I'm under the impression tht you click an icon to bring up a widget screen. The whole point is to have these little widgets display bite sized information on your home screens, without having to launch an app.
    Partially agree, but I am sure there will be a gesture command to bring them up. That, too me, isn't too bothersome, and you won't have to minimize windows in order to see them.
    Last edited by sziklassy; 09-13-2010 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    What's Jailbreak? Jay Marcase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
    When I first saw this I was excited that it was something new for iOS. iOS is too dated. I am almost regretting locking myself into contract for another two years with the iPhone 4 for that very reason.
    I honestly think iOS 4 was simply released to hold people off until they come out with a full revamp...at least that's what I hope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Marcase View Post
    I honestly think iOS 4 was simply released to hold people off until they come out with a full revamp...at least that's what I hope.
    iOS4 brought features that people were complaining to Apple about for a while, but I think you're kinda right with what you said.

    But I never use widgets on my mac they haven't changed in forever. I don't find a point in them and I doubt I'd use them on my iPhone. It would work better on my iPad but I can't see myself using it there either.

  12. #10
    What's Jailbreak? Jay Marcase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoso10 View Post
    iOS4 brought features that people were complaining to Apple about for a while, but I think you're kinda right with what you said.

    But I never use widgets on my mac they haven't changed in forever. I don't find a point in them and I doubt I'd use them on my iPhone. It would work better on my iPad but I can't see myself using it there either.
    While Apple did address some concerns with iOS 4 big gaping holes were left like Widget Support and Centralized Notifications which is why I think this version was just a hold over. In addition, I don't use widgets on OS X either but that's because they are stuck in the dashboard which makes them useless in my opinion. You should be able to pin a widget to your desktop and leave it at that...you should have to go into a separate layer so to speak of the OS in order to see the widgets...it kind of defeats the purpose.

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    iPhoneaholic zoso10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Marcase View Post
    While Apple did address some concerns with iOS 4 big gaping holes were left like Widget Support and Centralized Notifications which is why I think this version was just a hold over. In addition, I don't use widgets on OS X either but that's because they are stuck in the dashboard which makes them useless in my opinion. You should be able to pin a widget to your desktop and leave it at that...you should have to go into a separate layer so to speak of the OS in order to see the widgets...it kind of defeats the purpose.
    Apple never releases everything at once they always hold off on certain things so people will "stay tuned" and be anticipated for every new release.
    But since windows has made their version of widgets, I think Apple will be updating theirs.

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    Livin the iPhone Life sziklassy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoso10 View Post

    But I never use widgets on my mac they haven't changed in forever. I don't find a point in them and I doubt I'd use them on my iPhone. It would work better on my iPad but I can't see myself using it there either.
    They would be fantastic on the lockscreen or something. Being able to see the weather, today's calendar, etc. at a glance without having to open an app would be wonderful. I think most people want different things out of a phone/pda than they do from a laptop/desktop. As it stands, there isn't really any information available to me aside from the date and time on either the lockscreen or the springboard. Well, I guess you can see the day of the month. That is literally the only live data that we get.
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    iPhoneaholic southfrisco's Avatar
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    I am not really into widgets myself and think that a widget that takes the space of four app icons is a waste of space.

    I can see Apple adding more multitasking controls into the multitasking bar. A Bluetooth on and off icon, wifi on and off icon, 3G on and off icon would be nice additions to the portrait orientation and iPod controls.


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    iPhone? More like MyPhone
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    I would like to dedicate 1+ SB pages to widgets for weather/calendar/RSS/etc(maybe some toggles too! Though that wouldn't be simplistic enough for apple) as well as having some of that info available on the lockscreen. For now lockscreen info takes care of my LS needs and I even have a blank SB page that I use for LS Info. Kind of a half measure as far as the SB is concerned though. I've tried most everything out there as far as widgets and nothing quite does it. iOS still needs many improvements, in fact I wouldn't even use it without multifl0w, SB settings and many many others...I would love to see a bootloader exploit that would allow for dual boot android....

  17. #15
    Green Apple
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    I like the idea of Springboard widgets. ^ The above poster who said he doesn't like the idea of a widget taking the space of 4 icons... With the addition of folders, the Infinifolder tweak from Cydia, and a tweak such as fiveIconRows or Iconoclasm, I'm able to have room for a weather widget that takes up a full row, a clock widget that takes up 4 icons, and still have enough room to have access to all of my apps on one page.

    I recommend iWeather widget btw, it's the most useful that I've seen yet. Most widgets try to stuff too much info into a tiny space, like Facebook or Twitter widgets... When I'm checking one of them, I'm usually scrolling throw a lot of posts. With a weather widget, you're never going to get perfectly accurate info because weather is fairly unpredictable, but you do get a general idea at a glance without having to press any buttons or open any apps.

    A quick note widget would be nice too, since the time it takes to open the notes app (which is now in a folder), wait for it to load, and either start a new note or find the appropriate one to type in is just too much time sometimes! And the only notes widget I've seen requires you to bring up a widget overlay, as if it's a separate app. It defeats the purpose to me if the note isn't visible on the main screen, without initiating an app. That's what separates widgets from full-fledged apps.

  18. #16
    iPhone? More like MyPhone macsoldier's Avatar
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    This wouldn't be a bad idea I find widgets to be very helpful in some cases.

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