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Apple files patent for graphics-based contact management

AppleInsider has discovered a recently filed patent by Apple that would, if implemented, overhaul the way users navigate through their contacts on the iPhone. The patent, "Segmented Graphical Representations for Recommending Elements," describes a way for users to navigate through their iOS contacts in a way other than through text-based lists.

An example of how Apple would use graphical elements to let users sort through their contacts would be by presenting a collection of graphical tiles which display thumbnail photographs of the contacts. Tap on the photograph to view that contact's information or (perhaps) directly call them. Using images for contact navigation isn't limited to just an individual contact's photo, however. Apple also states that people who work in the same company, for example, could be grouped into one image such as the company's logo. Click on the logo to see all the contacts you have at that company.

The patent also describes how graphics-based representation system could be applied to music, allowing users to search through their music by album covers presented in a mosaic tile. Apple typically files patents for things that never materialize, but that's not to say this graphics-based music and contact management system won't show up in iOS 5. The Contacts app itself has not seen a significant update since its inception in the first iPhone OS, while the iPod/Music software in iOS has received very few updates since its inception as well. Now about that Weather app (is a location-based/rotate-to-view-hourly-forecast weather app really that hard?)...

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