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. Great, so when I go lookig for that document or app I haven’t used in awhile and I’m not sure where I put, it will be smaller than everything else, making it that much more difficult to find.

  2. Actually…

    This has been available for awhile via AppleScript–you could set the size of a single icon in the Finder. I remember playing with this once for an installer project at a company I was working for.

    The problem is that more recent versions of the Finder seem to get confused when the icons aren’t all the same size. But it worked fine in older versions (like 10.2 and 10.3).

    It’s amazing what you can patent nowadays…

  3. It’s a shame that Apple has to patent everything. This might be a cool idea, but a patent? But if Apple did not do it, someone else would patent it, and when Apple used the idea, it would get sued. A company like Apple probably has a Patent Writing Department.

  4. The war of the operating systems is just getting started.

    Vista is still sitting on XP underpinnings with all the problems that are associated with that. Ongoing development is much more difficult if you are trailing a caravan of old code, support for old applications etc etc.

    OS/X is relatively new and has no caravan – Apple made a clean break with OS/X requiring software vendors to start from scratch.

    This means, in my book, that Apple will be able to move OS/X ahead much faster than Microsoft can bring new features to Vista.

  5. It’s cool, but people have been doing things like this for so long, it seems pretty obvious, and IMO therefore unworthy of a patent. I hate how every little technological advancement gets patented, regardless how trivial. Of course, no doubt Apple feels they have to do it, to keep someone else from patenting it and locking them out. Still, the whole system is dumb.

  6. Mmmm BBedit ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />
    I remember using it when I learned HTML back in the early 90s.
    Now it’s bloated thoguh 🙁

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