Apple patent app suggests Mac OS X may gain multi-sized icon interface

Apple Store“Apple Inc. has developed an enhancement to its Mac OS X Finder user interface that will allow for different-sized icons within the same window as a means of representing their importance, a recent patent application has revealed,” Prince McLean reports for AppleInsider.

“In the filing, made last December and published for the first time Thursday, the Cupertino-based Mac maker notes that conventional graphical user interfaces already allow users to alter all icons of a display system or window from one size to another size based upon their preference,” McLean reports.

McLean reports, “‘However, such difference in size does not indicate the relative importance of the files or program represented by the icon, since the change in icon size is performed universally for all icons in a container, such as a folder or window,’ the company wrote. ‘Accordingly, in order to present a more informative and personalized user interface, a manner of describing to a user relative importance of an icon in relation to other icons in a system is desirable.'”

“Apple said it has developed a user interface which allows a user to adjust the size of icons based upon the user’s preference or based upon a characteristic of the objects that the icons represent,” McLean reports.

Full article, including patent application illustrations, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “iBulb” for the heads up.]


  1. I’m not seeing this being used by myself, too much. In all practical applications, though it sounds interesting, I doubt I would really care to make my Firefox icon larger than my PhotoBooth icon just because I use it more…

    Perhaps, though, the system could do it automatically? Files/programs/folders that are accessed more often “grow” more than other icons? Of course, the rate of growth and max size could be set by the user…

    Who knows…

  2. It isn’t just the size of the icon that matters – and I don’t mean R‘s poor joke, but how much real estate it takes up. Should the icon be “larger than normal”, it should be provided more surrounding space while if “smaller than normal” it’s surrounding space should be more restricted – offering a balance between icon and wall-paper. Mix them up and you could have a bit of chaos … use one of the cores to keep them sorted. My wife could certainly use smaller document icons … not that she’s be comfortable setting such an option.

    DLMeyer – the Voice of G.L.Horton’s Stage Page pod-cast

  3. There used to be a hack that allowed you to do this way back in Jaguar or something. Anyone remember it? It would be cool to see if it still worked under Tiger…

    MDN word: fear

    As in “Fear of a Mac planet”.

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