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April 16, 2012

Apple Plans To Develop "Open Source Mobile OS"

A new digital content authoring tool from Apple could make it simple for people without a background in programming to build their own iOS applications for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple's interest in making iOS development simpler than ever was revealed in a new patent application published this week and discovered by AppleInsider. Entitled "Content Configuration for Device Platforms," it describes a new authoring tool that would allow users to create content without needing to understand or access computer code.

The application notes that computer programming languages are a "hinderance to content creation," as many content creators and designers simply lack the skill and knowledge to work on the technical side of computer programming.

This problem can be addressed with "WYSIWYG" software using a graphical user interface to build software, such as a webpage development tool. But Apple notes that while these tools can assist in the creation of content, they have limited capabilities and often require users to make hands-on edits to code like CSS.

Current solutions to this problem, Apple says, utilize a "lowest-common denominator approach," in which the content is converted so it can be displayed on any mobile device. In doing this, devices that can display greatly enhanced content are not utilized to their full potential.

According to Appleinsider Apple proposes to resolve this myriad of issues with a new graphical software creation tool. With this tool, non-technical users would be able to do things like animate assets without the need for writing code.

"Each animation can be controlled by an action, and the actions can be tied to a time axis for execution," the filing states. "By relating actions to a time axis, animations based on the actions can be more easily viewed and reviewed."

Apple's described digital content authoring tool would cater to both amateur and professional content developers alike. Those with less experience could completely bypass the need to understand or access computer code, while skilled programmers would still have the option available.

The authoring tool would also be designed specifically for a number of Apple's electronic devices with diverse hardware capabilities, allowing simple support for different screen sizes and form factors.

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