"A new series of iPhone-related patent filings touch on some interface enhancements that could potentially find their way into a future version of the handset's operating system, including more immediate access to application settings and interactive notification panel that presents a list of communications missed while the phone is in a locked state.
Global Preferences Dialogs
The first filing, made in December by members of Apple's iPhone software development team, proposes a new global preference pane -- and presumably, an API for developers -- that would allow users to quickly alter settings of one or many applications directly from the home screen, without having to spider their way through the various settings panels contained within the existing iPhone "Settings" app.
This functionality would largely resemble Apple's Dashboard Widgets, and the way their ever-present "i" information icon provides immediate access to settings. In the case of iPhone apps, however, the "i" icon would be hidden from view until the user triggers a multi-touch action that would reveal the icon for all applications on the home screen with user-configurable settings.
"The user interface has a plurality of application icons. In response to a first gesture, the GUI changes the appearances of the application icons whose corresponding applications have user-adjustable settings," the filing explains. "In response to a second gesture on a selected application icon whose appearance is changed, the GUI displays user-adjustable settings of an application that corresponds to the selected application icon. In response to one or more additional gestures, the GUI changes one or more user-adjustable settings of the application that corresponds to the selected application icon."
"Thus," the filing adds, "the invention provides a transparent and intuitive user interface for finding and changing application settings on a portable electronic device with a touch screen display." (Continued via AppleInsider, Sam Oliver) [Usability Resources]