Stroke my sexy see-through backside, says Jobs from BEYOND THE GRAVE
That's right, fanbois, finger my sensitive area and watch it glow
Apple has successfully patented a new invisible button designed to be placed on the back of iDevices or used in computers.
Filed back in 2008, the design is a major broadside fired during Steve Jobs' war on visible buttons.
The patent is for a "disappearing button or slider", which is little more than a series of holes with sensors behind it.
Rather than pressing on an actual button, users would be able to press the invisible one – bear with us – which would light up whenever touched correctly. The light would shine through small holes, making the button visible only when pressed.
The new control uses capacitive sensing, which is already widely used in smartphone touchscreens. However, the new design would work even if the user was wearing gloves, giving it a large advantage over existing capacitive screen tech.
The button could serve various context-specific functions, like operating iTunes or acting as a game controller.
According to the patent, the button could be used on desktop or laptop computers to replace anything from trackpads to keys. This ushers in an era when "the truly seamless design has become a reality", if you subscribe to the canned gushings of the fruity firm. Trackpads or keys could be built out of the same material as the rest of the device.
The patent says:
One challenge with known input devices is that they may detract from the aesthetics of the device by interrupting the continuity of the device housing. To illustrate, compare a mobile phone having a traditional key pad with the iPhone produced by Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif. The iPhone has a flat touch-sensitive screen which presents a striking, seamless design, while the traditional mobile phone presents a cluttered array of keys and buttons. Besides the obvious aesthetic advantages of having a seamless design, a seamless design may have improved functionality and/or durability. For example, a traditional mechanical key pad can wear out over time and/or be ruined by dirt or moisture entering into the openings in the device housing. These openings are necessary to accommodate the traditional keys and buttons.
Taken to its extreme, seamless design would have an invisible input.
The patent was filed in 2008 and credits Omar Leung and David Amm as the inventors.
Steve Jobs famously suffered from koumpounophobia, a fear of buttons, and tried to expunge them from all Apple products.
Many Apple fanbois will remember frantically groping around the rear of an iMac, trying to finger exactly the right spot that would turn their computer on.
Jobs' bizarre predilection had a massive effect on the mobile phone market, as previously the iPhone mobes tended to look like your average mobile phone. Now, however, they look like iPod Touches after Steve's koumpounophobia made him strip back the mechanism to a touch screen and (horror of horrors) one great big, horrible, clicky button. ®