Apple patent application details new drafting app featuring virtual tools

“In early July we reported on Apple’s Wild New 3D Gesturing aimed at CAD users and in closing out July we see that Apple is working on a new ‘Drafting Application’ that will utilize ‘Virtual Drafting Tools’ such as a virtual ruler, protractor, compass and more,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “While the new app is primarily designed with devices like the iPad in mind, Apple hints that it could also be used with advanced touchpad commands such as those now debuting with OS X Lion.”

“Apple’s patent related documentation first lays out the problem that their proposed invention is to solve. According to Apple’s engineers, Computer-aided design (CAD) programs and other drafting applications allow users to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphical objects on a virtual drafting area. However, conventional CAD user interfaces often require users to act in non-intuitive ways,” Purcher reports. “For example, if a user wants to draw a straight line, the user typically moves a cursor from the drafting area to a tool menu or bar, selects a tool for drawing a straight line, then returns the cursor to the drafting area and specifies the start and end points for the line. These multiple steps are time consuming and can result in inefficient drafting.”

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Purcher reports, “Apple’s invention covers techniques and systems supporting the use of virtual tools in a drafting application. These techniques could be used to match user input defining a tool to a virtual tool, and process user input using the tool.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.


  1. I know it’s about virtual tools for drafting, but I see Apple taking gesturing to the next level and almost taking it to an art level. At times it’s like Apple wants us to learn their ever expanding gesturing language to lock us further into their hardware. Once you invest time learning their gesturing language, you won’t want to learn another company’s gesturing. It’s high risk but smart if Apple could pull it off. Excuse me while I dig further into OS X Lion’s new gesturing. Get my point. 🙂

    1. Yeah, thankfully those other companies didn’t have anything specific to their stuff you had to learn and make you not really want to switch. 😉

  2. I’d like to see Apple really do some cool stuff like this. We keep getting rehashed apps. When is Apple actually going to release something new and refreshing beyond OS upgrades and existing software tweeks?

      1. Blind? Really? Are you a shareholder or something? Go to Apple’s site. Go to the “Mac” tab, Go to “applications.” Are you now going to tell me that there’s something new there beyond software apps that are simply reinvenented/refreshed. I don’t see anything “new.” They keep reinventing the same damn software even their iLife suite. What’s really all-new or first to market? Nothing. On the software front, Apple is sorely lacking the ability to actually deliver anything new. Half or more of what they have they “acquired.” Beyond OS tweeks to OS X and iOS, they’ve done nothing new worth ****. You’re full of hot air, or is that you’re full of Breeze/thin air.

        1. Viki5! Are you still putting out those homemade pornos? I tried to watch the first one, but I just can’t get into bukake. It’s no wonder you’re a fountain of knowledge.

          1. Ya Benny. I had to stop distributing porno flicks because your one incher wasn’t being taken seriously by my girl friends. I thoughy it was sooo cute though. But it does effect your ability to stay on topic I see. Poor Benny.

            Apple hasn’t put out a single new cool app for anyone in years. They’re greatness is a little overblown. I like Apple, don’t get me wrong.But they’re a little over rated.

  3. I will be interested to see what they come up with. I am looking for a replacement for Canvas X which is still the absolute best graphics app out there for my particular needs. Unfortunately Lion doesn’t run Rosetta so I am stuck in the den of the Snow Leopard until I find a suitable app to replace it or until I can run Rosetta under Lion.

  4. Ever since Adobe purchased and then killed off Freehand, Illustrator has has the game pretty much to itself.

    Hopefully unlike many Apple patent applications, this one may result in a real product and users will be given a valid alternative again.

    It would serve Adobe right if Illustrator took a kicking the way that Premiere did when FCP came along. Adobe have been totally complacent on multiple fronts. Maybe a few execs at Adobe are about to have sleepless nights.

    1. There is a huge void in the Mac market when it comes to technical drawing apps. For my needs everything other than Canvas X is either to limited or too industry specific and quite expensive. Illustrator just isn’t designed to do the type of work I do. I know. I’ve got it.

      Canvas X is a powerful, workhorse of an app with tons of features which I depend on in my business. Unfortunately ACD Systems killed off the Mac version some years back, deserting half their users.

      Canvas X users are hoping that they will find the resources to resurrect it or sell it off to a company that can make a go of it. There is a lot of opportunity waiting in that market. Maybe Apple has noticed that.

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