Multi-Touch Swipe Gestures for iPhone Keyboard

Despite the Christmas holiday, the U.S. Patent Office continues to be churning away and has revealed this interesting new patent application from Apple called Swipe Gestures for Touch Screen Keyboards. The patent application is authored by Wayne Westerman. While we always enjoy reading research from the former Fingerworks founder, his multi-touch patent applications always seem to be more ambitious than practical. This latest document, however, details some very useful (and practical) additions to the iPhone's on screen keyboard.

Apple suggests the use of swipe gestures to be used on top of the iPhone's on screen keyboard in order to provide the user with quick access to common keys.

For example, erasing and basic punctuation insertion, directional swipes (also referred to herein as "swipe gestures") over the alphabetic keys can be used as an alternative to striking certain keys. Because the Space and Backspace keys are quite frequently used, they are logical candidates for the rightward and leftward swipes, respectively. Leftward and rightward swipes intuitively match the cursor travel caused by these symbols. Following this cursor movement analogy, the Enter/Return may be invoked by a downward swipe, and a Shift/Caps may be invoked by an upward swipe. Alternatively, as the Enter and Shift functions may be less frequently invoked, these may be substituted for other functions as well. One alternative mapping for the upward swipe, for example, could be to activate an alternative numeric and punctuation keypad or a particular punctuation symbol like an apostrophe or period.

A few sample gestures are depicted in the document:

195015 return 425
Swipe down = return

195712 delet 425
Swipe left = delete

Aside from these single swipe gestures, multi-touch swipes (two fingers) could invoke other special functions. While a single finger left-swipe might delete a letter, a two finger left-swipe could delete a whole word, and a three finger left-swipe could delete a line. Similarly, a single finger right-swipe could add a space, while a two finger right-swipe could add a period. Up swipes and down swipes could also invoke different functions based on the number of fingers used.

Like with Apple's multi-touch notebook trackpads, these optional functions could provide advanced users with many useful shortcuts while not steepening the learning curve for novice users.

Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

Provenance Emulator

PlayStation, GameCube, Wii, and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, GameCube, Wii,...
iPhone 15 Pro FineWoven

Apple Reportedly Stops Production of FineWoven Accessories

Sunday April 21, 2024 6:03 am PDT by
Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories, according to the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami." In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kosutami explained that Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories due to its poor durability. The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future. Kosutami has revealed...
Delta Feature

Delta Game Emulator Now Available From App Store on iPhone

Wednesday April 17, 2024 9:58 am PDT by
Game emulator apps have come and gone since Apple announced App Store support for them on April 5, but now popular game emulator Delta from developer Riley Testut is available for download. Testut is known as the developer behind GBA4iOS, an open-source emulator that was available for a brief time more than a decade ago. GBA4iOS led to Delta, an emulator that has been available outside of...
iPad Air 12

12.9-Inch iPad Air Now Rumored to Feature Mini-LED Display

Thursday April 18, 2024 7:37 am PDT by
The rumored 12.9-inch iPad Air that is expected to be announced in May will be equipped with a mini-LED display like the current 12.9-inch iPad Pro, according to Ross Young, CEO of research firm Display Supply Chain Consultants. The existing 10.9-inch iPad Air is equipped with a standard LCD panel, and the move to mini-LED technology for the 12.9-inch model would provide increased brightness for...