Apple highlights better way to juggle your browser tabs

A freshly published patent application points to an "array mode" in which you can swipe to view all of your own browser tabs and pick the one you want to see.

Apple/USPTO

The more tabbed pages you open in your browser, the more difficult it becomes to navigate them all. Apple has one remedy in mind, as shown in a newly published patent filing.

Published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a patent application called "Gesture-based navigation among content items" envisions a way to scroll through your tabbed pages in an array mode to find a specific one.

Desktop browsers typically display your tabs side by side. That's fine until you open so many tabbed pages that you can't keep track of them or even see their full names. Instead, Apple's approach would let you view your tabbed pages in a scrollable grid, allowing you to see them one at a time. When you find the page you wish to open, simply click on it to launch it full-screen.

As the patent describes it:

In response to user input the display can be switched to an array mode, in which all of the content items are visible in a scrollable array. Selecting a content item in array mode can result in the display returning to the full-frame mode, with the selected content item becoming visible and active. Smoothly animated transitions between the full-frame and array modes and a gesture-based interface for controlling the transitions can also be provided.

The concept sounds good, though it's hardly new.

The mobile version of Safari for iOS lets you swipe across your array of tabs. And in last year's release of Mountain Lion, Apple added a tabbed scrolling feature to Safari . Selecting a "Show All Tab" view in Safari lets you scroll through each open window and select the one you wish to launch.

But the patent application, which was filed on January 25, 2013, envisions the feature extending beyond just Web browsers.

"In any context where a user can view multiple different content items, such as a Web browser or word processing program or the like, switching among open (or currently loaded) content items is provided using an array mode," Apple said in its application.

(Via Patently Apple)

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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