It has been quite a busy week on the Apple patent front. And Patently Apple has a look at two interesting applications that suggests Apple is designing a next-generation drawing app to take on the Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator behemoth.

And the app is being designed to work with the mouse on Macs and touchscreen gestures for iOS devices.

First up is the application that details the virtual drawing space:

Various user input gestures may be provided to directly interact with a displayed input tool for changing various properties of the input tool. For example, rather than having to select options on a displayed menu, a user may provide input gestures at or near a displayed input tool to directly manipulate one or more properties of that input tool, such as its size or color. By visually changing how an input tool is represented on a user workspace so as to indicate a change in an input tool property, a user may be provided with a more efficient and intuitive user interface for generating graphical objects.

Moreover, by allowing a user to change an input tool property using an input gesture that may be independent of any displayed menu, the user may be allowed to focus directly on the input tool being used to generate the graphical object, for example, without a user having to periodically move his or her attention away from the input tool and towards a menu for altering an input tool property. Such an input gesture may be a multi-touch input gesture or an input gesture with a position that is directly associated with a position of an input tool presented on a display.

The second application goes into detail regarding the object layering system:

In Apple’s second patent background they state that some electronic devices include a graphical display system for generating and presenting graphical objects, such as free-form drawing strokes, images, strings of text, and drawing shapes, on a display. A user of such devices may interact with the graphical display system via a user interface to create different graphical objects in different layers, which may overlap and be stacked in various orders when presented for display. However, the ways in which currently available electronic devices allow a user to manage various layers of graphical object data may be confusing or overwhelming.

Apple’s solution to this problem is found in a secondary patent application published today that relates to the same next generation graphics app as earlier covered. This secondary invention focuses in on systems, methods, and computer-readable media for managing layers of graphical object data.

While it’s unknown whether the information in the patent application will ever be included in a shipped product, it does show that Apple thinks there is a better way than Adobe’s products. Now if some of this technology would make it into the wretched iPhoto, I’d be very happy.

And while Apple had reportedly wanted to phase out the Mac Pro line of desktop computers, this seems to show that the company still is looking to create technology for the high-end, professional market. The patent is quite complicated and is definitely worth a full look if you are interested.

Source: Patently Apple