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Thursday, December 02, 2010, 06:00 pm PT (09:00 pm ET)

Apple looking into radial menus; Universal Dock updated

A recently granted patent application shows Apple is investigating radial pop-up menus. Also, Apple has added an aluminum remote and USB power adapter to its Universal Dock product.

Radial menus

Peter Warner, who is a "Designer at Apple," according to his LinkedIn profile, is listed as the inventor for a patent granted Dec. 2 that details the concept of radial menus as an alternative to drop-down menus, MacNN reports. The patent expands on a previous patent for the use of "spiraling" menus.

According to the application, radial menus could prove more efficient than the current "move to menubar to select standard features" model used in current major operating systems. The patent provides for both a static menu order and a prioritized order, where higher priority items would be displayed more prominently.

Both mouse and touchscreen input methods are covered in the patent. The invention incorporates the use of angled mouse or trackpad gestures to indicate selection of a particular menu item. Radial menus would also allow for circular gestures when navigating menus on a touchscreen.

Drawings include possible implementations for both Mac OS X and iOS.

Radial menu patent


Radial menu patent


Universal Dock

Apple quietly updated its Universal Dock bundle to include a USB power adapter and the aluminum Apple Remote, raising the price from $49 to $59.

Previously, the Universal Dock came with the older plastic remote. As before, the Universal Dock also comes with 5 dock adapters and a USB cable. The dock adapters now fit the iPhone 4, iPhone 3G and 3GS, the 4th generation iPod touch, the 2nd and 3rd generation iPod touch, and the 5th generation iPod nano.

The aluminum Apple Remote was released last year and sells for $19 on its own.