Apple patent application details Multi-Touch™ swipe gestures for iPhone touch screen keyboard

“Despite the Christmas holiday, the U.S. Patent Office continues to be churning away and has revealed this interesting new patent application from Apple called Swipe Gestures for Touch Screen Keyboards. The patent application is authored by Wayne Westerman. While we always enjoy reading research from the former Fingerworks founder, his multi-touch patent applications always seem to be more ambitious than practical. This latest document, however, details some very useful (and practical) additions to the iPhone’s on screen keyboard,” Arnold Kim reports for Mac Rumors.

Kim reports, “Apple suggests the use of swipe gestures to be used on top of the iPhone’s on screen keyboard in order to provide the user with quick access to common keys.”

From Apple’s patent application:
For example, erasing and basic punctuation insertion, directional swipes (also referred to herein as “swipe gestures”) over the alphabetic keys can be used as an alternative to striking certain keys. Because the Space and Backspace keys are quite frequently used, they are logical candidates for the rightward and leftward swipes, respectively. Leftward and rightward swipes intuitively match the cursor travel caused by these symbols. Following this cursor movement analogy, the Enter/Return may be invoked by a downward swipe, and a Shift/Caps may be invoked by an upward swipe. Alternatively, as the Enter and Shift functions may be less frequently invoked, these may be substituted for other functions as well. One alternative mapping for the upward swipe, for example, could be to activate an alternative numeric and punctuation keypad or a particular punctuation symbol like an apostrophe or period.

Full article, with more images, here.

MacDailyNews Take: Copy-and-Paste?! Hope springs eternal.


  1. I would rather the left and right gestures be used for moving the cursor back and forth or, failing that, a pair of arrow buttons on the keyboard itself. While I like the loupe most of the time, I find that in longer documents and non-Apple applications it can act really squirrelly.

  2. For a copy and paste, couldn’t it go as follows…

    1. Touch and hold with index finger to bring up magnifier.
    2. Slide around to find the beginning of the text that you wish to copy.
    3. While still holding with the index finger, tap anywhere else on the screen with another finger to begin selecting.
    4. Drag with index finger to make selection (with magnifier still shown).
    5. Copy. Pasting could work the same way…hold with index finger to bring up magnifier, scroll to paste location, and double tap (while still holding index finger) with another finger to paste there.

    My two bits.

    MDN Word: probably…as in Apple will probably include copy and paste someday.

  3. @Regular Reader
    To me I think it should be just like a computer with the copy paste feature. You press and hold to move the cursor to where you want it then release. Then press and swipe in whatever direction you want to select the text. As far as copy, maybe a simple double tap of the highlighted area which can bring up a quick popup saying copy, paste, cancel. To me that would be the easiest form instead of trying to add a specific technique different than that of a computer. The “slow” people would pick up on it quicker.

    But thats just my opinion and for christ sake… is it so hard to add MMS? Atleast start with me being able to just view the image instead of going back and forth with text screen and safari. And sometimes the page doesn’t even want to load so I have to get to a computer to view the image. Sucks cause then I cant save it directly to my phone to email it to someone. I’d have to save to computer, bring in iphoto, then sync to phone then im good. And at that point might as well just open a browser and send through email there and not bother with the phone.

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