Apple patent application details Spiral interface; may be intended to augment or replace Cover Flow

“In September of this year Apple introduced us to a new Spiral based iTunes UI and provided us with a nice overview,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Today, Apple opens the gate wide open and shows us that the new Spiral interface is to replace their current Cover Flow,” Purcher reports. “The new design will work with both standard and Multi-Touch displays and is likely earmarked for OS X Lion due out next summer.”

Purcher reports, “The new user interface will look really cool on Apple’s iPad for the latter half of 2011.”

Read more in the full article, which includes Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.


  1. “In September of this year Apple introduced us to a new Spiral based iTunes UI and provided us with a nice overview.” What? I don’t see anything like that in iTunes. Did I miss something?

    The purpose of a patent is to defend IP, not to introduce new products. Apple may list devices in its patent applications that it never intends to manufacture, so that someone else can’t steal the idea for Device Type A because Apple only patented it for Device Type B. In this case, Apple may have no intention of implementing the Spiral interface. The patent just might be a way of building a wall around CoverFlow, preventing anyone, such as Microsoft, from imitating it.

  2. @silverhawk

    Anyone can sue anyone else for anything at any time, even if their claims are invalid and they lose the case. It’s possible to file a lawsuit that you know you’ll lose for the purpose of forcing the other party to waste time, attention, and money on the defense, and to get publicity by posing as a victim.

  3. Point # 1 “Harvey” – its’ Apple that being sued for Cover Flow.

    Mirror Worlds sues Apple re spotlight, cover flow, time machine:

    Point #2: if you actually went to the link that MacDaily points to for this story, you’d realize that the context you’re clueless to is that Apple introduced a first-patent on this subject of spirals. So ya, you missed something here Harvey. Your ability to read!

    The purpose of a patent is not to introduce new products? Harvey, you’re an idiot. Apple published a ton of patents of the coming iphone in 2006. Boy, some people’s kids.

    The points made in the patent are valid. We would all benefit from the spiral concept and it will be very cool on an iPad to move you play lists around in a graphical manner.

    Two thumbs up Apple!

  4. When I read shit like from Tommy about him not liking the sprial idea so you’ll get a kick in the head if you do, is so not Apple. Where do these idiots come from. Apple has always pushed for new ideas and to Think Different. Did you not get the memo, Tommy? Obviously not.

  5. For iTunes, it sounds like the spirals effect is going to be a lot of fun to flip through album covers and play around with playlists in a new way. For work, on the other hand, Apple appears to be thinking about alternatives to cover flow, like with their v-shape file idea.

    The point is to be able to see more info in the pipe, or in the group. Cover Flow was cool for its time but it really wasn’t designed for data in the Finder to begin with. So Apple is trying to take the idea and expand upon it. That’s Apple, always trying to push the UI envelope.

    I see that some have voiced fear of change. Funny coming from someone in the Mac community. I for one, certainly welcome some fresh thinking. And in this area, it’s certainly smart and welcome.

  6. Patently Apple added a sprials like demo for what could work with iPhoto. It helped me to understand what Apple could do with this. The demo may not be perfect but it is pretty cool. Apple could a lot of quality and features to this. Nice concept.

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