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Thursday, October 04, 2012, 09:35 am PT (12:35 pm ET)

Apple's 'shake to print' concept would add custom printing options to iOS devices

A pair of new patent filings reveal a concept from Apple that would allow users to select custom settings for printing by moving or interacting with an iPhone or iPad in unique ways.

Patent


The filings discovered by AppleInsider were published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They are entitled Systems and Methods for Defining Print Settings Using Device Movements, and Systems and Methods for Defining Print Settings Using an Input Interface.

In one example provided in the applications, a user could shake their iPhone back and forth to enable a print settings mode. In another implementation, a user could shake their iPad to cancel a print job.

Apple already has a system-wide "Shake to Undo" feature in iOS that uses a device's built-in accelerometer. The company also offers "Shake to Shuffle" when playing music.

With Apple's new concept, users could also change settings — such as print orientation — by rotating or moving an iOS device. For example, viewing a photo in portrait mode could then send the picture to a printer with the same layout.

Patent


The patent application also goes beyond motion and orientation of the device, and presents new ways that users could interact with an iPad to select printer settings. One illustration shows how users could select a range of pages to print from a document, while a template selector would show a user how their content would appear on various paper sizes.

When viewing multiple pages of a document at once on a touchscreen device, a user could also use their finger to draw across the pages and signify an order in which the pages should be printed.

The applications, made public this week, were first filed with the USPTO in March of 2011. The proposed inventions are credited to Howard A. Miller, David Gelphman, and Richard Blanchard Jr.