Apple introduced iOS app folders in iOS 4 and has had the ‘Jiggle Mode’ UI since iOS 1. On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple the patent for iOS app folders and the ‘Jiggle Mode’ UI.
The patent, which is listed as U.S. Patent No. 8,423,911, describes the iOS app folders as “Device, method, and graphical user interface for managing folders” and describes the methods to rearrange applications and organizing them. In the patent file from the USPTO, Imran Chaudhri is listed as the inventor of the UI feature.
For example, using a sequence of inputs to create, modify and/or delete folders and content within folders is tedious and creates a significant cognitive burden on a user. In addition, existing methods take longer than necessary, thereby wasting energy. This latter consideration is particularly important in battery-operated devices.
Apple’s “Jiggle Mode” is also included in the patent, an animation that signifies that the user is able to move any of the applications on the home screen around. This is likely the reason that both features were including in the same patent, because of their interaction in iOS. In Jiggle mode, when a user places an app on top of another, it will automatically generate a folder with type of app such as ‘Games’ or ‘Productivity’. These names are taken from the app’s metadata generated from the App Store’s organizational categories.
For example, as illustrated in FIG. 5B, the selectable user interface objects jiggle as though they are floating on water (e.g., each respective selectable user interface object oscillates about a respective average position of the selectable user interface object on the display).
Apple does not own patents on all of its iOS features, getting these patents over 2 years after introducing the feature. However, as the company releases more iOS features in iOS 7 and beyond, they will begin to collect more patents along the way.