Opinion: What the iPad and iPhone 6 Plus needs

The iPhone 6 Plus has a lot of unrealised potential, and it's down to an uninspired interface that it's not meeting it. Sure, apps can show an extra pane of information, but they can't be opened side-by-side or "floated" like the Galaxy Note 4. Sure, you can copy and paste from apps, but you can't grab specific parts of the screen and pull information from it like the Note 4. These are all features not everyone needs, but it shows that Samsung's device is at least taking advantage of being a phablet in ways that Apple’s entry isn't...

That would be a huge market for Apple to tap into whom are sitting on the fence about worthwhile upgrades...

Patently Apple first uncovered a patent for a 3D iPhone UI back in January 2012, under the humble title of "Apple is paving the Way for a new 3D GUI for iOS Devices." Today, Apple has been granted yet another patent for a "Sensor Based 3D User Interface Environment" along with several others which could lead to features I feel the iPad and iPhone 6 Plus needs...

A radical new UI is being worked on in Cupertino, and it would make sense for it to be debuted next year. If the new interface utilises the extra space in ways that the current iOS UI fails to, it could help the iPhone 6 Plus stand-out as a phablet device and revitalise the declining iPad interest from unnecessary year-on-year updates. Apple's 3D UI patent in 2012 mentioned a multiple GPU requirement - something which was added in this year's A8X.

The A8X contains three Cyclone cores as opposed to two in the A8 and earlier. Currently, the A8X is only found in the iPad Air 2 which could mean the new interface will debut on that device and make its way to an iPhone 6 Plus successor at a later point. Or a more-likely scenario is that Apple has been able to use their new 64-bit capabilities in post-A7 devices to power the new UI...

It would mean anyone who wants the new UI will require iDevice models which include and succeed the iPad Mini 2, iPad Air, or the iPhone 5S. That would be a huge market for Apple to tap into whom are sitting on the fence about worthwhile upgrades...

Apple's patent FIG. 1A illustrates a perspective projection in a 3D display environment of a mobile device using orientation data derived from onboard sensors. This could of course be just another one of Apple's many patents which won't see the light of day, or it could be used for specific apps rather than a full-blown new UI. It is credited to Patrick Piemonte who worked on Core Location, the iOS inertial sensor framework known as Core Motion, 3D graphics, and 3D Maps features.

Beyond the 3D UI patent, Apple was granted 32 others today. Most of these appear irrelevant, except for "Browsing and interacting with open windows" which could lead to a feature which rivals the Note 4's capabilities and allows for multi-window operation on the iPhone 6 Plus and iPad. With a 12" iPad Pro rumoured for next year; it would be stupid to not allow multiple windows.

Do you think these patents will make it into iOS features? Let us know in the comments.

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