The patent wars are just beginning. Over the next several weeks, Samsung and Apple will be going at it in court and if Apple wins, it could either mean injunctions on Samsung's various devices or a quite hefty fine of $2.525 Billion for "damages". With that said, Google seems to be proactive in the midst of all these patent disputes and has been granted a new patent which reveals a new kind of menu.
Both Android and iOS are similar as far as how their menu operates, however, in the menu that we're talking about here, it's much different. Instead of the traditional style, it's a radial menu that allows you to scroll to different pages, apps, etc., in an arch fashion. It's worth noting that Apple has filed two patents around this feature in the last two years. There are some similarities so it'll be interesting to see what happens.
With the radial styled menu, it recognizes multiple different gestures. For example, a horizontal swipe would result in a pie-like menu to appear with various options. From there, you could move your finger to select an element. A swipe gesture could also work on pulling up the menu not just from the bottom of the device, but from say the side.
There is a lot of technical details so in sake of keeping this post short, if you'd like to read the specifics, you can do that here at Patent Bolt. Google has not announced any use of this new radial style menu, though it could definitely be used in future versions of Android. Some are saying this is to prevent patent disputes which, if implemented into Android, could prevent various lawsuits.
Pretty much goes without saying that Apple, if they really want to, could go after Google anyways. They definitely have enough money in the bank to throw at lawyers and lawsuits, even if not justified, that's for sure.