“In early July we reported on Apple’s Wild New 3D Gesturing aimed at CAD users and in closing out July we see that Apple is working on a new ‘Drafting Application’ that will utilize ‘Virtual Drafting Tools’ such as a virtual ruler, protractor, compass and more,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “While the new app is primarily designed with devices like the iPad in mind, Apple hints that it could also be used with advanced touchpad commands such as those now debuting with OS X Lion.”

“Apple’s patent related documentation first lays out the problem that their proposed invention is to solve. According to Apple’s engineers, Computer-aided design (CAD) programs and other drafting applications allow users to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphical objects on a virtual drafting area. However, conventional CAD user interfaces often require users to act in non-intuitive ways,” Purcher reports. “For example, if a user wants to draw a straight line, the user typically moves a cursor from the drafting area to a tool menu or bar, selects a tool for drawing a straight line, then returns the cursor to the drafting area and specifies the start and end points for the line. These multiple steps are time consuming and can result in inefficient drafting.”

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Purcher reports, “Apple’s invention covers techniques and systems supporting the use of virtual tools in a drafting application. These techniques could be used to match user input defining a tool to a virtual tool, and process user input using the tool.”

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