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Apple Looking Into Scrollable Toolbars and Menus For Lion


(Image courtesy of AppleInsider)

It looks like sometimes simple could very well be better.  A new Apple patent has revealed that the company could be looking into a new graphical UI that would allow for devices that are running either Mac OS X or iOS to be able to cut down on toolbars and menus, thus reducing some of that pesky screen clutter.

The reveal comes from Patently Apple, and the plans revealed in a patent application that was filed last week in Europe, users would be able to select an area and then scroll through menu items, which allows for a larger choice of options that could then be displayed on the screen at once.

The filing also made note that toolbars and menus for the usual commands, like opening a file or saving a document, “can take up valuable real estate in the graphical user interface.”

“For example, a user does not want a floating tool palette that takes up too much of the screen,” reads the patent.  “As more options get added to a tool palette, the tool palette must get larger or the size of the options must get smaller.”

Apple’s filing also states that the feature would allow for an application to display all of the options on a menu or toolbar while at the same time not taking up a large amount of space. 

For more images of the patent, head here.  Let us know if you like what you see thus far in the comments below.  Possibly visually pleasing, or not so much?

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter



Show & Tell: Apple Leaks New Scroll Bar UI for Mac OS X Lion 10.7

Mac OS X Lion 10.7 scrollbars
(Image courtesy of AppleInsider)

Apple is used to the tech media revealing new features of its forthcoming products, but on Wednesday, the company inadvertently provided a leak of their own during their “Back to the Mac” event — a new scroll bar user interface for next year’s Mac OS X Lion 10.7.

AppleInsider is reporting that while Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave us a peek at a few Mac OS X Lion 10.7 features at Wednesday’s “Back to the Mac” event, including LaunchBar and Mission Control, they also slipped a new user interface element — as rumored, the new OS X appears to be gaining iOS-style scroll bars.

Not only does Mac OS X Lion 10.7 appear to have a new style of scroll bars, but the user interface element also appears to vanish whenever it’s not being actively used, much as it does on the iPad.

AppleInsider notes that during Apple’s vice president of Mac OS X engineering Craig Federighi’s brief demo of the forthcoming Mac App Store, the app first opened with no scroll bar, as seen on the left side of the image above. This is noteworthy because the screen appears to feature more content than it can hold, but after scrolling down into the app listings, only then did the dark grey iOS-style menu bar appear, as shown on the right side of the image. After a moment of inactivity, the scroll bar again vanished.

Also noteworthy is that the Mac App Store window appears to completely eschew the familiar Mac OS X title bar which has historically displayed the name of whatever app was open. AppleInsider’s assumption is that Cupertino is doing away with that part of the user interface, since it’s unnecessary if you already know what app is open in the first place.

Check out AppleInsider’s extremely thorough breakdown of the scroll bars presented on Wednesday, which may give us a further peek into what using the next version of Mac OS X will be like when it arrives in sunny summer 2011.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter