As Apple patents go, it’s not always easy to tell which ideas will make their way out of Cupertino in future devices, and which will be written off. But I’m guessing this one falls into that last category. Published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Thursday, this patent covers a new feature, which could one day make its way into iOS, that would demand users change print settings by shaking their device.
Apple notes that because of the small displays on our portable devices, it may sometimes be difficult for users to define print settings before sending a document to the printer — particularly if that document is very large in comparison with the device’s display.
Although a print settings overlay could be utilized, Apple acknowledges, the options within the overlay may be small and difficult to select, and so an alternative approach to defining print settings may be advantageous.
As Apple’s patent suggests, that alternative approach could be the ability to shake your iOS device to switch between print settings. Users would be able to define certain setups and assign specific motions to them. They could also flip their device over to cancel print settings.
In another, slightly more sensible embodiment, Apple suggests a drawer or tray overlay that allows users to select print settings over their document. This would allow for more complex setups, such as defining specific pages to print, or highlighting certain regions on a page.
I’d certainly prefer this method than the gesture-based one. I mean, I would almost certainly forget which motions I had assigned to which setups, and it would only make things more confusing. In fact, I can’t imagine why anyone would wish to set print settings by shaking their iOS device.
Via: Patently Apple