Apple has filed for a patent (number US 20230205406 A1) for a “Visual Object Receptacle” that hints at a future 3D version of macOS.
About the patent filing
In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that graphical user interfaces such that of the Mac provide interfaces in which a number of graphical representations of system objects can be displayed according to the needs of the user. Example system objects include system functions, alerts, windows, peripherals, files, and applications. Taskbars, menus, virtual buttons, a mouse, a keyboard, and other user interface elements provide mechanisms for accessing and/or activating the system objects corresponding to the displayed representations.
Apple says the graphical objects and access to the corresponding system objects and related functions “should be presented in a manner that facilitates an intuitive user experience.” The use of metaphors that represent concrete, familiar ideas facilitate such an intuitive user experience. For example, the metaphor of file folders can be used for storing documents; the metaphor of a file cabinet can be used for storing information on a hard disk; and the metaphor of the desktop can be used However, as the capabilities of processing devices progress, so do the demands on the graphical user interface to convey information to the users in an intuitive manner, according to Apple. Apparently, a three-dimensional interface is an alternative.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s summary of the patent filing: “Disclosed herein are methods, apparatus and systems including a visualization object receptacle. In one implementation, a computer readable medium stores instructions that are executable by a processing device, and upon such execution cause the processing device to generate a graphical user interface on a display device.
“The graphical user interface defines a depth aspect and a visualization object receptacle disposed along the depth aspect. A visualization object comprises a collective representative of graphical user interface elements that can be displayed in the visualization object receptacle.
“In another implementation, a visualization object receptacle disposed along a depth aspect is generated, and one or more visualization objects are generated within the visualization object receptacle. At least one of the visualization objects is a stack item.
“In another implementation, a three-dimensional desktop defining a depth aspect includes a visualization object receptacle disposed along the depth aspect. One or more visualization objects are disposed within the visualization object receptacle, and at least one of the visualization objects comprises a stack item.”