Patently Apple has unearthed a new patent that shows off a Cover Flow-like interface
for browsing icons or album covers, only instead of Cover Flow's linear layout, this one organizes content in a spiral. We've seen rotating menus in Apple's patents
before, but this looks more involved. It's described as a "receding spiral in a virtual 3D space," and you would use your finger (so probably in an iOS interface) to spin the spiral around and browse through whatever you were looking for. There's also a "V" shaped display listed, and users might even be able to reorganize icons or art in the display (while creating or sorting a playlist, for example).
A finger is explicitly shown in the patent, but presumably this would work with a mouse
, or even a scroll wheel, as in the case of the non-touchscreen iPods. It's definitely an intriguing idea, and it adds a little more visual variety to browsing through various media or icons. As with all of these patents, there's no guarantee that Apple will actually use this plan in a future product, but clearly someone in Cupertino is thinking about how to put a new spin on the Cover Flow interface.