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Apple Files Patent for Motion-Based Controls for iPod/iPhone

Apple Inc. has filed for a patent application for the idea of motion-based control over the interface of a media device such as an iPod or iPhone. The patent, if granted, would cover the idea of a user being able to interact with or control their iPod/iPhone through a built-in accelerometer by simply moving the device.

The relatively short abstract for the applications, said, "Systems and methods are provided for a media device including one or more movement-based interfaces for interfacing with or controlling the media device."

An image included with the patent shows a hand rotating an iPhone in order to scroll through a list being displayed. Such movements would make one-hand navigation of an iPod or iPhone, especially the touch-screen iPhone and iPod touch, substantially easier.

"One problem with existing portable media devices such as cellular telephones is that users can become distracted from other activities while interfacing with the media device's video display, graphical user interface (GUI), and/or keypad," the company wrote in the patent application description.

"For example," the application continued, "a runner may carry a personal media device to listen to music or to send/receive cellular telephone calls while running. In a typical personal media device, the runner must look at the device's display to interact with a media application in order to select a song for playing. Also, the user likely must depress the screen or one or more keys on its keypad to perform the song selection."

Apple argued that, "there is a need for providing a user interface in a personal media device that minimizes either or both a user's physical and visual interactions with the personal media device, especially while the user is performing other activities that require, for example, the user's visual senses."

The patent, titled, "Movement-based interfaces for personal media device," was filed on October 1st, 2007, and published today (April 2nd, 2009). It was first spotted by The Register UK.

As we typically do with patent stories, not all technologies that are patented by Apple (or applied for, in this case) make it into shipping products. Unlike most patent applications, though, the iPhone already has all of the requisite hardware elements in place to take advantage of the technology as described.

Patent Image
Figure from Apple's movement patent

1 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Lee Dronick said:

This could be “handy.” An option to holding the iPhone in your hand and flicking through a list with that hand’s thumb.

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