Apple, not shy of shaking things up in the interface department, has been sitting on its laurels since the release of OS X earlier this decade. Sure, iPod changed the way we think about music and iPhone has completely turned the mobile phone industry around, but the Mac OS has been relatively static in terms of how users navigate within the environment since the release of 10.0. The good news, however, is that Apple is working on a way to change the way we interact with our systems.
MacRumors has uncovered information on a patent titled "Multi-Dimensional Desktop" which depicts a three-dimensional environment that looks somewhat like viewing a room from one end. The interface has methods for literally stacking files and minimized windows on top of one another as well as for dragging interface items along the multiple surfaces. An interface such as this would be fairly performance-intensive and the ratification of OpenCL along with the impending release of Snow Leopard could be just the shoes that need to drop for this to become a reality. There is no guarantee that this will ever be seen outside of Cupertino or the PTO, but if Apple does implement this interface design it would bring a whole new meaning to the term "wallpaper." Click the read link for an additional image from the patent application.