Apple patent filing describes active desktop feature for Mac OS X

Apple Store“An enhancement to the Mac OS X operating system under development by Apple looks to pave the way for active desktop pictures, or desktop backgrounds that can include motion graphics and alter themselves based on user actions or the time of the day,” Katie Marsal reports for AppleInsider.

“In a patent filing detailing the development, Apple notes that desktop pictures have traditionally been drawn using an image stored in a static picture file that consumes considerable resources in RAM and VRAM (video RAM). In addition, the Mac maker also notes that because desktop pictures are static, transitions between the login screen and the desktop picture are generally abrupt and nonorganic,” Marsal reports.

Marsal reports, “Instead of loading a file that contains the desktop image, Apple’s design looks to provide for a system and method for opening and retaining a procedural ‘recipe’ and a small set of instructions that can be executed to compute a desktop picture over time. The technique is said to reduce requirements for both VRAM and RAM, hence taking less memory away from the system.”

“The Cupertino-based systems builder goes on to say in the filing that seamless integration between login, the desktop picture, and log out also provides a visual hook that can further distinguish products,” Marsal reports.

Much more in the full article here.


  1. “Desktop Effects, anyone?

    Desktop Movie Player?”

    You can already do this with BSPlayer on any PC. Just go to view and select play on desktop. Now you have a motion picture desktop.

    Nevertheless if Apple doea it right it will be very cool. Smooth transitions. Hmmm…

  2. Excellent idea ChrissyOne, whenever I use photoshop I always press F to get full screen grey background. Having OS X automatically turn my desktop background to grey when I launch would be too frickin cool!

  3. Enuz: Or it would be too easy to confuse with Active Desktop.

    Active Desktop is a feature of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0’s optional Windows Desktop Update that allows the user to add HTML content to the desktop, along with some other features. This functionality was intended to be installed on the then-current Windows 95 operating system. It was also included in Windows 98 and higher Windows operating systems until Windows Vista, where the feature was discontinued.

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