Apple has been hard at work designing a 3D operating system, a new patent filing just unveiled has revealed.

The Mac-maker is prepping a "multidimensional desktop" that would see an illusion of depth added to your Mac desktop.

The official notes from Apple describing the new system reads as follows: "A graphical user interface has a back surface disposed from viewing surface to define a depth, and one or more one or more side surfaces extend from the back surface to the viewing surface. An icon receptacle is disposed on one or more of the side surfaces, and one or more icons are disposed within the icon receptacle. The one or more icons correspond to one or more desktop items".

The patent covers the concepts of using 3D effect shapes to represent applications or files.

Images to illustrate the patent will be familiar to Mac users as they show the dock at the bottom of the screen, suggesting perhaps the 3D system isn't that far off...