Apple granted patent for a music user interface

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190163329) for a music user interface that hints at upcoming tweaks to its iTunes interface. The company is expected to preview new Music and Podcast apps for macOS at this week’s Worldwide Developer Conference; this could be related, although the patent also involves iOS.

In the patent filing, Apple says that some techniques for accessing and playing music using electronic devices, however, are generally cumbersome and inefficient. For example, accessing music for playback may require navigating a complex and time-consuming user interface, which may include multiple key presses or keystrokes. The company says that existing techniques require more time than necessary, wasting user time and device energy. 

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Apple says that, accordingly, there is a need for electronic devices with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for accessing and playing music. Such methods and interfaces optionally complement or replace conventional methods for accessing and playing music. Such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface. For battery-operated computing devices, such methods and interfaces conserve power and increase the time between battery charges. Apple wants to improve this.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “A device, comprising a display and a rotatable input mechanism, one or more processors, memory, and one or more programs, is described. In response to receiving the first user input, the one or more programs may include instructions for ceasing display of an audio playback user interface and displaying a first user interface of a first set of user interfaces. 

“While displaying the user interface of the first set of user interfaces, the one or more pogroms may include instructions for: receiving a second user input representing a directional swipe in a second direction and, in response to receiving the second user input, ceasing display of the first user interface of a first set of user interfaces and displaying the audio playback user interface.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.