Future version of iOS could use ambient light sensor to create shadows on icons for 3D effect

Future version of iOS could use ambient light sensor to create shadows on icons for 3D effect
A report from The Next Web cites an unnamed Apple executive saying that future versions of iOS could feature a neat trick that would make the UI more realistic. By dropping shadows under certain graphical "assets" based on the ambient light sensor of a mobile device, a cool 3D effect could be created. The sensor would determine how light or dark the shadow would appear on the screen.

Current versions of Apple's mobile devices would not be able to use this technology because the currently used ambient light sensor only detects light that is incidental, not directional. A combination of the light sensor, gyroscope and accelerometer could be a valid workaround, but the battery life necessary to run this would probably not make it worth doing.

Why would Apple even think about such a minute detail like shadows? Take a look at the video below which shows a design element in the upcoming iOS 6. The gyroscope is used to change the reflections on the Music app's radio buttons, depending on how the user is holding the device. By taking care of the small details, Apple endears itself to its millions of fans.

source: TheNextWeb, Gizmodo via AppleInsider



1. mapads2k3

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 25, 2012

How about a major revamp of the UI instead of some useless "cool 3D effect"?

4. CharlieAtInfinity

Posts: 253; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

They really need a major revamp of the UI!! :) Although the iFan's disagree!!

9. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Form over substance for the iDevices.

2. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Now that's cool

5. PackMan

Posts: 277; Member since: Mar 09, 2012

Using sensors to deliver effects has already been done. So this is nothing new, except it uses ambient light sensor. It is also completely useless.

8. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Oh really which phone has this now?

3. ScottSchneider

Posts: 336; Member since: Dec 06, 2011

Now That is some $hit... Stop Suing Other Companies n Start Bringing things that are use full to ppl...

6. ilia1986 unregistered

That will totally cause me to buy an iPhone 5. Totally. I mean - this is just a killer revolutionary magical amazing phenomenal feature! Who needs infinite possibilities, an open ecosystem, endless customization and personalization, HD screens or Quad core processors? I can tilt my phone and see the lightning of the buttons change!!1

10. Lift_Off

Posts: 152; Member since: Apr 04, 2012

"infinite possibilities" - hahahaha c'mon son. quit the bulls**t.

12. ilia1986 unregistered

Are you willing to try to dispute that? Go ahead - make my day. Android is open source. It can do anything. :)

13. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

I'm surprised everyone is thumbing him down when he's being sarcastic.

21. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

theyre thumbing him down because they all know he owns an iphone already... hard to distinguish sarcasm in a situation like that right?

16. adi4u4882

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

Tell me you're being sarcastic.

17. ilia1986 unregistered

You know me. And even if you don't - isn't it obvious I was? :) Could anyone really believe that I wasn't?

7. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Like I said before - Apple is allways using MIMICRY as their visual language, achieving total transparency toward content. To be more precise, they are allways designing the transparent interface. Interface defines a product. Interface that interacts with reality.

15. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Mimic - synonyms from the Merriam-Webster dictionary: copied, cribbed, plagiarized; artificial, bogus, factitious, fake, false, imitation, man-made, mock, sham, simulated, substitute, synthetic; duplicated, photocopied, reduplicated, reproduced, transcribed; backup; counterfeit, deceptive, forged, fraudulent, misleading; cut-and-dried (also cut-and-dry), perfunctory, routine, uninspired

18. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Those are mostly derivations of the term and more or less inacurrate interpretations of its primary meaning. To mimic something means to imitate its enviroment in most abstract sense. Of course, it is used in biology to descirbe the phenomenon of animal's ability to blend in its enviroment. It draws its root from greek word "mimesis" which was used mostly by Plato do define the problem of imitation of the world in pictures and statues. He was very crtitical toward mimesis because he believed that everything in the world is actually an imitation of Ideas, and pictures and statues, and also poetry, are imitations of those imitations, and so they are worthless. History of art was not on Plato's side, but they continued to use the term "mimesis" to describe representational art that was the main concept of art until mid-19th century. Now, in the age of mechanical, electronic and digital reproduction, the terms "mimesis", "mimetic", "mimicry" are used to descirbe the concept of reproduction od the reality, and finally we have Apple that reproduces, or mimics the reality by blending the virtual world with the real world. Concepts like true WYSIWYG, Retina displays with high enough PPI and intuitive design is what Apple propagates from its very beginnings, and it's the most fundamental part of their designs. This tendency to completely integrate virtual and "real" reality with interaction of the two is the final stage of this long-term project of Apple.

11. homeedition88

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 16, 2012

Do not worry apple. You understand it clearly now huh. M.s is never up to customer satisfaction (as we can see in wp7.5 upgrade to wp8, and zune and when xbox360 was in market they cut off xbox support) and google is up to sell your personal information to companys otherwise they could build a solid o.s can easily work only with one core cpu. And you know that apple more that we know that there is no other option with decent customer support, o.s upgrade, fast and simple o.s. And now you decided that you will be lazy because there is no real competition.

14. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Samsung's Galaxy SIII running Android : Camera used for Smart Stay (Prevents screen from dimming when reading) Proximity sensors used for Direct Call (Call someone when you put the phone to your ear), Smart Alert (Alert users for notifications when picked up) & other motion gestures (eg. Flip over silent mode,etc.) Apple's new iPhone running iOS : New light sensor to give you fancy shadow effects!!!!! *slow clap* Ladies and gentlemen, the world's most advanced mobile OS.

19. Mitchel

Posts: 228; Member since: May 25, 2012

Galaxy S3's motion gestures too.

20. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Waste of battery life.

22. MMKhan

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 27, 2012

"Current versions of Apple's mobile devices would not be able to use this technology".............then on what device is it demonstrated ??

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