Two newly published patent filings reveal that Apple is interested in developing a graphics application that could take on Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator.

Patently Apple describes the patents, which were published by the US Trademark and Patent Office on Thursday, as “jaw dropping”.

Apple’s proposed virtual drawing space app will run on both Mac and iPad, as it is designed to work with the mouse and touchscreen gestures. One of Apple’s aims with the invention is to eliminate the need to access menu after menu while creating something in a drawing application, by providing a new way of accessing and manipulating a graphical object input such as brush strokes, a string of text, or a geometric shape.

“Rather than having to select options displayed on a menu, a user may provide input gestures at or near a displayed input tool to directly manipulate one of more properties of that tool, such as the size or color,” reads the patent description. “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.”

The second of the two patents describing a virtual drawing application relates to object layer management. “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 states in the patent background.

To help make layers less confusing for the casual user, Apple aims to introduce a new layer scheme. “For example, in some embodiments, a graphical display system may be configured to generate any new graphical object in the top-most layer of a layer stack presented for display to a user,” Apple explains. “Different types of graphical objects may be handled differently by the layer management processes of a graphical display system.”

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