Apple Working On Automated Desktop Pictures

Various sites are reporting on a patent application released today (number 20070085854) entitled "System and method for computing a desktop picture." The abstract reads:

Disclosed are a system and method for computing a desktop picture. Instead of loading a file that contains the desktop image from memory, the present invention provides for a system and method for opening and retaining a procedural recipe and a small set of instructions that can be executed to compute a desktop picture. The desktop picture can be computed very quickly using a GPU (graphics processing unit), and can be made to move on demand. When a part of the desktop image is needed to composite, that part is computed using a fragment program on the GPU using the procedural recipe and a specially written fragment program into a temporary VRAM buffer. After it is computed and composited, the buffer containing the result of the fragment program may be discarded.

In summary, Apple seems to be leveraging the programmability of today's modern GPUs to be able to create computed desktop pictures that can be constantly updated to changing situations on the user's desktop.

Apple suggests that situations such as logging in or out, waking from sleep, or coming out from a screen-saver are currently too jarring, and the invention hopes to make this experience more seamless. Also mentioned is a tool that would allow designers to edit and specify the user experience.

Apple also seems to be conscious about system resources, mentioning several times about opportunities to free resources for use by other applications.

Patent applications can provide interesting insight into what concepts or technologies Apple is working on in their labs, however readers are reminded that only a subset of these applications will make it into final shipping products.

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