Apple applies to light up laptop touchpads, iPod clickwheels
Apple has touched on a new way to help you find your way around its products. The company has registered technology in the US that could see the iPod’s clickwheel or your MacBook Air’s touchpad light-up when you finger it.
Apple's design for iPods with light-up clickwheels
The patent application, which was filed recently with the US Patent and Trademark Office, shows in block diagram form how the inclusion of a lighting mechanism would help guide users around a device by relating menu options to lighting changes. It's little like someone switching the hallway light on and off for every step you take up the stairs.
Which light mode catches your eye?
Apple’s patent lists several potential designs. For example, one diagram shows how the light could track the user’s finger around a scroll wheel like a ball of fire. Whilst another tracks the user’s digit in block formation.
The idea could be incorporated into laptops, like the Air
The most intriguing design shows how the intensity of the light emitted would grow as the speed of the user’s scrolling increases. So, if you’re really in a hurry to find your favourite song then you’ll get a handy clickwheel torch.
While the patent application rambles on for many pages, as they often do, the real question is, how much would the addition of a light to a clickwheel or touchpad really improve the operation for users? Will there be different light colour options? Can the wheel flash to the beat of your music? Or, will it affect the iPod and Air's existing operation negatively, such as by shortening battery life?
Register Hardware wants to know your thoughts.
The reason is ...
Jobs is a fan of the old Simon game.
Food for thought!
Could their be a link between this patent and something similar to Perceptive Pixel multi-touch software which Apple already uses in the iphone.
Although patent doesn't refer to such, since when did Apple release patents which stated clearly their intended use.
With a BIG increase in Research and Development over the past 8 Months maybe this is the next big thing that's due.
May sound far fetched but read between the lines and it's not impossible that this is what it could be referring to.
Personally, I hate the IPod UI
For starters, why should I have to physically crank a fucking wheel to select something in a menu? My thumb gets sore after spinning through 5000 different artists. As long as they are making you crank something, why not an actual crank that powers the device? I thought electronics were supposed to reduce physical labor. And secondly, I hate animated menus. Sure they are supposed to be easy to use or whatever, but waiting 200ms for a menu to scroll pisses me off. Buying a faster system is supposed to increase effective response time, and they are wasting it on stupid animations. So yeah, Apple may have reinvented the UI or whatever, but only to apease flashy light muppets and piss off power users.
"Can the wheel flash to the beat of your music?"
If that's in the plans, will they be sued when someone has an epileptic fit while using a flashing iPod?
"like that patent for the "pinching" movement, it's been used on multitouch displays for years "
Has it? I've never seen it before the iPod and I've been involved in electronics one way or another since 1964.
That said, I can't see the point of this one.