AppleInsider spotted an interesting patent application this morning entitled ‘Content Configuration for Device Platforms.’ The document was filed by Apple on December 15th of last year.

The patent describes a piece of software that would help non-programmers develop iOS applications. Remember the iBooks authoring tool Apple released back in January? Yeah, this is a lot like that…

AppleInsider explains:

“Creating these [iOS] applications would be a simplified process in which the user could select a template for their software. From there, they would begin to fill in the pieces and build their own iOS application, webpage, or advertisement.

The filing suggests that Apple sees this new, simplified iOS software creation tool as a way that small business, in particular, could get involved in application creation. In another example, a restaurant called “The Legends of Rib” has an interactive menu on the iPhone.”

Of course, there are services available right now for folks that want to create applications with little programming knowledge. But they typically cost money, have shoddy interfaces, and other limitations. Apple’s solution would be free, and assumedly better.

Since this is merely a patent application, there is no telling whether Apple will ever release such a tool to the public. But as a programming novice who sometimes bounces around in Xcode in an attempt to create things, I sincerely hope it does.