“Tampering with a winning user interface is a tricky thing. People don’t generally like drastic user interface changes and yet, there are times early on in a new device cycle, where reinvention from within is necessary to keep the competition on the run,” Jack Purcher writes for Patently Apple.

“Apple’s iPhone user interface led the way in 2007 and the copycats do what they do best: they copied it,” Purcher writes. “Well, Apple appears to be at it again and sending out signals that change is in the wind. Both in September and December of 2010, Apple hinted that they were considering the use of a new UI element called ‘Spirals,’ an interesting UI that could be used for media, especially photos.”

Purcher reports, “Today, Apple introduces us to something they simply refer to as ‘Segmented Graphical Representations.’ It’s a new Graphical User Interface element that presents one larger graphic, such as album art, and then segments it into a series of smart interactive tiles. The idea may begin with the iTunes Store, but Apple shows us that it could very well spill over to other iOS elements like the address book and beyond.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.