CoverFlow – the visual browsing interface acquired by Apple prior to the iPhone’s initial announcement, allows users to browse music, TV show and movie artwork via the use of a scrolling carousel.
Now, according to another patent filed by the Cupertino-based company in September, the future UI of this feature could look something close to the above.
Here’s how the patent proposes this new CoverFlow GUI would work.
Apple’s patent describes methods and arrangements for manipulating a playlist by providing a graphical user interface in the form of a receding spiral made up of a collection of icons representing media items in the playlist having an icon in the center of the spiral representing the entire playlist. By way of selecting and dragging a representation of a media item or playlist into the center of the receding spiral, a new receding spiral based on the media item or playlist currently in the center of the spiral is created and displayed.
The new receding spiral could be generated based on a playlist created using similarity data related to the new media item in the center of the spiral, whereby the media items in the playlist are considered similar to the new media item. Alternatively, the new playlist could already be associated with the representation that was dragged into the center of the spiral.
In some embodiments, the representation of a media item that is dragged into the center of the spiral originates from outside the spiral. In such embodiments the representation could originate within a file or music management application – Such as iTunes. The representation could also originate from within a file directory.
The icons representing the media items in the playlist could be derived from album art or they could be generic icons. In some embodiments the representation in the center of the spiral could also be derived from album art from which the list is derived using similarity data. In some embodiments the representation in the center of the spiral could be an icon representing the playlist, which could be generic or assigned by a user.
Just in case they don’t manage to secure this “Spiral” navigation method for whatever reason, Apple has also reserved a number of other navigation layouts, including a triangular “V”-like option.