Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,635,134) for the Sidecar feature introduced with macOS Catalina. It allows users to extend their Mac desktop by using their iPad as a second display or as a high-precision input device across creative Mac apps.
In the patent data, Apple says that Integrating touch-sensitive secondary displays into computing systems has resulted in new ways for users to interact with these systems, and in particular, for the provision of affordances in the secondary displays that are selected dynamically based on context of an application displayed at a primary display of the computing system.
In certain instances, however, Apple says that some users are unable to easily locate desired affordances within the secondary display while using certain applications. The company says there’s a ” need for customization features that allow users to easily switch between different display modes for the secondary display and that also allows users to associate display modes for the secondary display with different applications.” And Apple obviously feels that Sidecar addresses those issues.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “Disclosed herein are systems and methods that enable users to customize operation of a touch-sensitive secondary display. An example method includes: displaying, on primary display, a first UI for a first application; while secondary display is operating in an adaptive display mode: (i) displaying, on a respective portion of the touch-sensitive secondary display, application-specific user interface elements selected based on current state of the first UI; and (ii) receiving a request to operate the secondary display in a persistent mode; in response to receiving the request, operating the touch-sensitive secondary display in the persistent display mode; and after changing focus to a second UI for a second application: displaying, on the primary display, the second UI; and maintaining display, on the respective portion of the secondary display, of UI elements associated with the persistent display mode.”