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MacRumors
Jul 16, 2007, 02:59 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/07/16/apple-developing-backlit-trackpad/)


A recent patent filed by Apple suggests the company is continuously looking for ways to improve user input devices. In this case, Apple describes an "improved feedback mechanism for touch pads", including "devices capable of illuminating the touch sensitive surface of the touch pad" and "methods for providing visual feedback at the touch pad."Although touch pads work well, improvements to their form feel and functionality are desired. By way of example, it may be desirable to provide visual stimuli at the touch pad so that a user can better operate the touch pad. For example, the visual stimuli may be used (among others) to alert a user when the touch pad is registering a touch, alert a user where the touch is occurring on the touch pad, provide feedback related to the touch event, indicate the state of the touch pad, and/or the like.
Apple currently includes back-lit keyboards in its MacBook Pro notebook computers. The current application builds on numerous previous patents filed between 2002 and 2005.

http://images.macrumors.com/article/2007/07/16/trackpad_300.png


The invention in a trackpad configuration.

http://images.macrumors.com/article/2007/07/16/illuminatedScrollWheel_300.gif


The invention embodied as an iPod click-wheel.

Raw Data: Patent Application 20070152977 (http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220070152977%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20070152977&RS=DN/20070152977)

Article Link: Apple Developing Backlit Trackpad? (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/07/16/apple-developing-backlit-trackpad/)



NewSc2
Jul 16, 2007, 03:08 PM
Sounds kind of gimmicky, but I'd like to see what comes up. Seems like multi-touch will do away with the need for a trackpad, though.

I rarely use the back-lit keyboard, but I can justify it more than having a back-lit trackpad. The monitor gives good enough feedback on where I'm at.

BornAgainMac
Jul 16, 2007, 03:09 PM
A backlit yellow band on the trackpad would be funny. Something new to complain about.

thejadedmonkey
Jul 16, 2007, 03:09 PM
It might be gimmicky, but 1/2 of the gimmicks are what make using a MB/P so nice. Think the pulsing sleep light or the magnetic latch.

FJ218700
Jul 16, 2007, 03:09 PM
although it's hard for me to imagine the need for this feature under the current OS, I'm sure that if this rumor indeed becomes reality, we'll all be wondering someday how we ever got along without such feedback.

thesdx
Jul 16, 2007, 03:11 PM
I'm thinking that the new trackpads will feature multi-touch, just like the rumored multi-touch Mighty Mouse. In the multi-touch mouse rumor, the patent suggests that the mouse could glow when the user has new mail. This new trackpad could be the notebook equivalent of the multi-touch Mighty Mouse.

longofest
Jul 16, 2007, 03:11 PM
Sounds kind of gimmicky, but I'd like to see what comes up. Seems like multi-touch will do away with the need for a trackpad, though.

I rarely use the back-lit keyboard, but I can justify it more than having a back-lit trackpad. The monitor gives good enough feedback on where I'm at.

I don't know if we should expect Apple to jump straight to Multi-touch monitor-enabled macs. My idea is that they will most likely incorporate the technology other ways first... like a more multi-touch enabled trackpad (other than two-finger scrolling, of course), or the multi-touch mouse we've been hearing about. A full 15" or larger screen that is multi-touch enabled would be prohibitively expensive for the consumer, I think.

MLeepson
Jul 16, 2007, 03:11 PM
It's kind of like my Samsung Sync. On the front when you tap one of the 3 icons, it lights up. It's just a way to try to jazz it up, because it has no real purpose.

stainlessliquid
Jul 16, 2007, 03:15 PM
What is the point of visual stimuli to tell us we are touching something? We already know when we are touching something, its called feeling.

bigandy
Jul 16, 2007, 03:16 PM
maybe a light outline on it would be good. i find my backlit MBP keyboard fantastically useful, and some small, not too bright outline of the trackpad would be fine.

rainydays
Jul 16, 2007, 03:17 PM
Makes me think of the Kaoss Pad
http://www.korg.co.uk/images/news/KP3_top.jpg

bigandy
Jul 16, 2007, 03:17 PM
What is the point of visual stimuli to tell us we are touching something? We already know when we are touching something, its called feeling.

of course, unless your disability means you have no feeling in your fingers. in that sense, it could be very useful.

marco114
Jul 16, 2007, 03:18 PM
wait... This is about computers, this must be a different Apple we're talking about. :D

arn
Jul 16, 2007, 03:19 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3)

What is the point of visual stimuli to tell us we are touching something? We already know when we are touching something, its called feeling.

I disagree. The iPhone is full of visual feedback that would otherwise not be obvious what was going on if you didnt have it.

Arn

MrCrowbar
Jul 16, 2007, 03:23 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3)



I disagree. The iPhone is full of visual feedback that would otherwise not be obvious what was going on if you didnt have it.

Arn

So true. It does have the clicking noise, but that gets so annoying :-)
Feedback is good.

thesdx
Jul 16, 2007, 03:28 PM
Makes me think of the Kaoss Pad
http://www.korg.co.uk/images/news/KP3_top.jpg

Yeah, me too! The Kaoss pad changes colors as you move your finger around the touchpad.

Clive At Five
Jul 16, 2007, 03:31 PM
What sort of visual feedback could be given if your finger is covering up the point of contact?!

And secondly, who looks at their trackpad as they're computing? Not me.

The only useful part of this patent, I think, would be gently lighting the perimeter of the pad, as the MBP does the letters of the keyboard. It would make finding the track pad easier. Otherwise, I see it as mostly useless.

Prove me wrong, Apple. I'm curious.

-Clive

k2k koos
Jul 16, 2007, 03:32 PM
This is Apple. They do Gimmicks, but most of their gimmicks serve a purpose, they are the masters of the GUI, and other controller surfaces, I am looking forward on how Apple is going to make the track pad functional and fun at the same time :-) :apple:

twoodcc
Jul 16, 2007, 03:32 PM
seems pretty interesting

dhc
Jul 16, 2007, 03:32 PM
Maybe the trackpad will actually be a small screen, with multitouch functionality? Dynamic icons that appear depending on you current usage?

guzhogi
Jul 16, 2007, 03:35 PM
Multitouch would be cool. I also feel that a backlit trackpad would be one of those features where before you use it, you think it's a stupid idea, but after a while, you wonder how you ever survived w/o it.

Yankees 4 Life
Jul 16, 2007, 03:36 PM
Yeah, me too! The Kaoss pad changes colors as you move your finger around the touchpad.

what the hell is that thing for...

dscottbuch
Jul 16, 2007, 03:39 PM
Maybe the trackpad will actually be a small screen, with multitouch functionality? Dynamic icons that appear depending on you current usage?

This is what I think would be GREAT. For example, need a number pad for a couple of entries. Tap the # sign in the upper left, for example and get a big number pad a-la iphone. Need a special set of icons for a specific Keynote/Photoshop/Word operation - after pressing the command-<key> sequence the choice appear on the trackpad instead of searching for them with the mouse.

These might not be the best examples but with careful UI design this could be huge.

wHo_tHe
Jul 16, 2007, 03:45 PM
Maybe the trackpad will actually be a small screen, with multitouch functionality? Dynamic icons that appear depending on you current usage? Bingo.

Future Apple laptops will clamshell two screens. They will eventually try to get us off of keyboards altogether, as keyboards represent one of the last true mechanical components of a computer and a common point of failure.

thesdx
Jul 16, 2007, 03:49 PM
what the hell is that thing for...

The Kaoss pad is a DJ tool made by Korg that allows you to warp and effect sounds.

zombitronic
Jul 16, 2007, 03:51 PM
Isn't the iPhone essentially a backlit trackpad?

crees!
Jul 16, 2007, 03:54 PM
Sounds kind of gimmicky, but I'd like to see what comes up.

Just like the mouse back in the day :D

iPoodOverZune
Jul 16, 2007, 03:54 PM
This is what I think would be GREAT. For example, need a number pad for a couple of entries. Tap the # sign in the upper left, for example and get a big number pad a-la iphone. Need a special set of icons for a specific Keynote/Photoshop/Word operation - after pressing the command-<key> sequence the choice appear on the trackpad instead of searching for them with the mouse.

These might not be the best examples but with careful UI design this could be huge.

now we are talking! this is the kind of functionality i would like to see on the trackpad. launch applications, open some documents or number pad or other such things.

d_and_n5000
Jul 16, 2007, 03:59 PM
ooh, lots and lots of possibilities here. maybe it could have an outline around the outside, and then give a faint light around whatever is contacting the trackpad—so if I had my finger on it, it would give a glow around my finger. At first it seems oh so gimmicky, but somebody will come up with uses for it. Like an iSpazz for your trackpad! Sounds promising.

Rend It
Jul 16, 2007, 04:03 PM
Bingo.

Future Apple laptops will clamshell two screens. They will eventually try to get us off of keyboards altogether, as keyboards represent one of the last true mechanical components of a computer and a common point of failure.

Realistically, how often does someone experience a keyboard failure? More often than not, something on the logic board fails.

cliffjumper68
Jul 16, 2007, 04:12 PM
Maybe the trackpad will actually be a small screen, with multitouch functionality? Dynamic icons that appear depending on you current usage?

That would be great! I could see this being useful when doing presentations in low light.

ZrSiO4-Zircon
Jul 16, 2007, 04:15 PM
Nobody is going to move away from mechanical keyboards until the "digital" keyboards give some kind of tactile feedback. There's a phone out there, I think it's a samsung, where the buttons are actually on the screen, and when you "press" it, the vibrator works in conjunction with another movement device and it fools you into thinking that you pushed a physical button in a certain spot. Something like that would definitely help us move away from mechanical keyboards. Another thing is, absolutely smooth surfaces would be hard to type on, cuz, for me anyway, the way I find the correct keys is to feel around for it, even for a fraction of a split second. Without a physical feel for the location, and actual tactile feedback, "digital" keyboards, I think, won't take off.

dernhelm
Jul 16, 2007, 04:20 PM
Didn't read all the posts, so if this has already been stated then I apologize.

This would actually be very, very cool - and really increase the touchability of their laptops.

Now all they need is touch pads with _tactile_ feedback and they would be all set.

boobooq88
Jul 16, 2007, 04:29 PM
Maybe the track pad will glow a certain color when you touch it and then glows another color on the spot that you are touching it? Like the whole trackpad glows red when you touch it but has a small blue glow on the area you are touching? Would be pretty cool... Not totally useful but I'm sure it could be useful somehow :p Just my thought.

Add muti-touch t that and that would be cool. :D

macjonny1
Jul 16, 2007, 04:38 PM
Where do you look when you are using the touchpad? The freaking screen!!!! That is your visual feedback! I can't remember the last time I watched my finger move around on the touchpad.

Still, it would look cool, and I would love it cuz I'm a nerd! :)

AlexisV
Jul 16, 2007, 04:44 PM
Non-news such as Apple patents are so boring! LOL :D:D:D:D:D

puuukeey
Jul 16, 2007, 04:45 PM
what next? the iPixel?

this device allows a cell of a matrix to show color via three separate voltages each corresponding to a primary color

EagerDragon
Jul 16, 2007, 04:53 PM
Very interesting, however I vote for tectile feed back instead (electric shock). Hehe.

bigmc6000
Jul 16, 2007, 04:58 PM
Bingo.

Future Apple laptops will clamshell two screens. They will eventually try to get us off of keyboards altogether, as keyboards represent one of the last true mechanical components of a computer and a common point of failure.

A common point of failure?? I've never had a keyboard fail on me in my entire life. I've had everything else fail on me, mice, screens, computers, HD's, video cards, motherboards, fans, etc but never, not even once have I had a keyboard fail on me.

Maybe you mean something more than just not working anymore??

EagerDragon
Jul 16, 2007, 04:59 PM
I don't know if we should expect Apple to jump straight to Multi-touch monitor-enabled macs. My idea is that they will most likely incorporate the technology other ways first... like a more multi-touch enabled trackpad (other than two-finger scrolling, of course), or the multi-touch mouse we've been hearing about. A full 15" or larger screen that is multi-touch enabled would be prohibitively expensive for the consumer, I think.

Using screen multi-touch would eliminate the need for the trackpad and save a lot of real state. I would love a tablet with the power of MBP.

offwidafairies
Jul 16, 2007, 05:11 PM
wait... This is about computers, this must be a different Apple we're talking about. :D

thank god. iphone & beyonce was getting boring ;)

RumMunkey
Jul 16, 2007, 05:12 PM
Isn't the iPhone essentially a backlit trackpad?

Yeah, my thoughts exactly. I think the touch-screen on the iPhone is going to be huge in the coming years.

A few weeks ago we see this patent on a "multi-touch mouse", and now this?

I think (in the very near future) MacBook touchpads will essentially be tiny iPhone-like pads, as will iPods, and this new super mighty mouse.

Imagine getting visual feedback on your mouse. Icons to click right there on the mouse.

If I had cah I'd be investing it in whatever company makes these for Apple.

Dustman
Jul 16, 2007, 05:12 PM
Nobody is going to move away from mechanical keyboards until the "digital" keyboards give some kind of tactile feedback. There's a phone out there, I think it's a samsung, where the buttons are actually on the screen, and when you "press" it, the vibrator works in conjunction with another movement device and it fools you into thinking that you pushed a physical button in a certain spot. Something like that would definitely help us move away from mechanical keyboards. Another thing is, absolutely smooth surfaces would be hard to type on, cuz, for me anyway, the way I find the correct keys is to feel around for it, even for a fraction of a split second. Without a physical feel for the location, and actual tactile feedback, "digital" keyboards, I think, won't take off.

or like a strong electric shock. that'd be sweet.

offwidafairies
Jul 16, 2007, 05:13 PM
ooh, lots and lots of possibilities here. maybe it could have an outline around the outside, and then give a faint light around whatever is contacting the trackpad—so if I had my finger on it, it would give a glow around my finger. At first it seems oh so gimmicky, but somebody will come up with uses for it. Like an iSpazz for your trackpad! Sounds promising.

that sounds really cool. i can visualise it. :D

Nepenthe
Jul 16, 2007, 05:23 PM
Who looks at the trackpad?? I focus on the monitor when using a pointing device. The last thing I want is some pulsating trackpad visualization to distract me in a dark room.
Or they are just trying to quietly patent a mini-touchscreen :)

Apple may just be covering their bases here. It seems like they have become more patent-conscious over the last couple years. Granted I am no expert on patents...

From the patent:
"[0056] In the case of proximity sensing,[...]Proximity detection may be based on technologies including but not limited to capacitive, electric field, inductive, hall effect, reed, eddy current, magneto resistive, optical shadow, optical visual light, optical IR, optical color recognition, ultrasonic, acoustic emission, radar, heat, sonar, conductive or resistive and the like. "

japanime
Jul 16, 2007, 05:50 PM
To each his/her own, but I personally hate glow-in-the-dark gimmicks like this. It's why I bought a black MacBook -- so my full concentration would be on the bright screen, and not on the case or keyboard.

wHo_tHe
Jul 16, 2007, 06:03 PM
A common point of failure?? I've never had a keyboard fail on me in my entire life. I've had everything else fail on me, mice, screens, computers, HD's, video cards, motherboards, fans, etc but never, not even once have I had a keyboard fail on me.

Maybe you mean something more than just not working anymore?? Lost/broken keys and spills represent a significant number of repairs. Just like tripped-over power cords did before MagSafe was invented.

ricksbrain
Jul 16, 2007, 06:18 PM
Actually, having a horizontal iPhone-esque trackpad could be a very useful implementation of multi-touch in computers. Instead of having your arms stretched out with shoulders exhausted, you'd be able to manipulate objects onscreen using a body positions already known and generally comfortable. Change of usage would be minimal because multi-touch is also very intuitive.

As trackpads have gotten more and more functionality with recognizing user intent such as double-taps and two finger scrolling, I think an illuminated trackpad is just on the horizon, if not almost here. In fact, it would be killer and make Apple stand out even more to the also-rans.

MattyMac
Jul 16, 2007, 06:23 PM
Sounds awesome! Hopefully it will be coming out on that ultra-portable said to be released soon.

Matthew Yohe
Jul 16, 2007, 06:26 PM
What is the point of visual stimuli to tell us we are touching something? We already know when we are touching something, its called feeling.

I'm sure you have run into a case of trying to wake a laptop from sleep/screen saver, and the computer doesn't seem to want to. You are left, staring at black screen, continually moving on the trackpad. Not that this is what invention will solve, but it is just another method of the computer disappearing into the environment.

To be clearer: Yes, you know you are touching something, but you don't always get feedback that your input was accepted.

So true. It does have the clicking noise, but that gets so annoying :-)
Feedback is good.

I realized a feedback problem with the iPhone today. When the ringer switch is on silent, this mutes the clicker also. This is fine, but it doesn't auto-route the clicker noise to the earbuds. I hope this is corrected.

What sort of visual feedback could be given if your finger is covering up the point of contact?!

And secondly, who looks at their trackpad as they're computing? Not me.

The only useful part of this patent, I think, would be gently lighting the perimeter of the pad, as the MBP does the letters of the keyboard. It would make finding the track pad easier. Otherwise, I see it as mostly useless.

Prove me wrong, Apple. I'm curious.

-Clive

I'm not sure Apple needs to prove you wrong, I may have already.


This is what I think would be GREAT. For example, need a number pad for a couple of entries. Tap the # sign in the upper left, for example and get a big number pad a-la iphone. Need a special set of icons for a specific Keynote/Photoshop/Word operation - after pressing the command-<key> sequence the choice appear on the trackpad instead of searching for them with the mouse.

These might not be the best examples but with careful UI design this could be huge.

The beginnings of this idea has played out before, very recently.

http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/16771.jpg

You can switch between the trackpad and these little shortcut buttons on current toshiba laptops. (review: http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=3221&review=Qosmio+G35-AV650)


I personally think that getting this kind of feedback is great. It will be interesting to see how/if they use this.

breath of apple
Jul 16, 2007, 06:56 PM
A multi-touch trackpad would be great! Can you imagine having your dock posted on your trackpad? Then, all you do is touch the icon on the touchpad which application, stack (with Leopard), space, etc., that you want to launch? And also an icon for Dashboard to pull up widgets, etc? A separate "pull up" screen available within each app for when you need digital keyboard, ability to pinch, flick, move on the screen, select, switch documents or switch apps. And a "glow effect" when each application would normally be "bouncing" in the dock would be a great visual - new mail, software update, download complete, etc. My work would be so much more efficient! This could very well replace the keyboard if the trackpad is large enough and done well. Perhaps part of the delay in Leopard is so that all of this touch technology can be incorporated properly into each app in the final version of Leopard. Either that, or Apple could do this via a software update. And of course, they would need to update their hardware too.

Of course, the phone app, including visual vm, could also be included!

The iphone is proving a success for text entry by those who have used it. If the trackpad has a screen even larger than the iphone, text entry on the trackpad could be very easy. It would have an auto-correct, and you would need to "trust" the trackpad, but soon you would be whizzing away!

The multi-touch trackpad makes so much sense - even if multi-touch large computer screens were affordable, ergonomically it doesn't make sense to lift your arms to touch your computer screen all day, nor to look down to view a multi touch computer tablet all day.

Go apple! :apple: I am ready for a multi-touch touchpad on a MBP! :)

MadIvan
Jul 16, 2007, 07:02 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

A recent patent filed by Apple suggests the company is continuously looking for ways to improve user input devices. In this case, Apple describes an "improved feedback mechanism for touch pads", including "devices capable of illuminating the touch sensitive surface of the touch pad" and "methods for providing visual feedback at the touch pad."



Raw Data: Patent Application 20070152977 (http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=16&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PG01&s1=Apple.AS.&OS=AN/Apple&RS=AN/Apple)

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/07/16/apple-developing-backlit-trackpad/)


Umm, this just sounds like a patent for the way the letters enlarge when you type on the iphone keyboard so you know which letter you typed.

----
iMac G5, MacBook C2D, 80Gig iPod Video, 8Gig iPhone, AMD Turion 64 laptop XP Pro, 2.8 GHz Pentium XP Pro, Atari 520ST :P

steve jr.
Jul 16, 2007, 09:51 PM
The first thing I thought of was the light flash the pause/play button does in the iPod area of iPhone to transition. I don't own one, and this was the only area that I could think of that has this. Feel free to expand.

bretm
Jul 16, 2007, 10:33 PM
What sort of visual feedback could be given if your finger is covering up the point of contact?!

And secondly, who looks at their trackpad as they're computing? Not me.

The only useful part of this patent, I think, would be gently lighting the perimeter of the pad, as the MBP does the letters of the keyboard. It would make finding the track pad easier. Otherwise, I see it as mostly useless.

Prove me wrong, Apple. I'm curious.

-Clive

What makes you think you can patent illuminating something? Notice the drawings show quite a bit more than simple illuminating.

And btw folks, trackpads are already 3 finger multitouch.

dontmatter
Jul 16, 2007, 10:46 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3)



I disagree. The iPhone is full of visual feedback that would otherwise not be obvious what was going on if you didnt have it.

Arn

I agree, in that redundant feedback and visual feedback on a screen make sense, but I think it makes very little sense for a traditional trackpad. Are you actually going to receive the feedback? probably not. The visual feedback on a computer is the arrow on the screen. Unless the trackpad is the screen, it would just be distracting.

I forget that my powerbook has a backlit keyboard, because all it does is look cool and drain the battery, and I turned it off long ago. I can see what I type on the screen, and it's far more effective than looking at the keyboard.

PetMac
Jul 16, 2007, 10:58 PM
Wow, for a company that stuck with a one button mouse for 20+ years Apple is suddenly all about innovative input.

I got new a MacBook two weeks ago after five wonderful years with a G4 PowerBook and a number of other macs since 1990, how did I ever live without two finger scrolling and two finger tap contextual menus. These are wonderful implementations of common features on PC laptops but much more elegant and useful.

I can't wait to see what Apple will do next.

stainlessliquid
Jul 16, 2007, 11:00 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543a Safari/419.3)



I disagree. The iPhone is full of visual feedback that would otherwise not be obvious what was going on if you didnt have it.

Arn

You look at an iphone screen while you touch it, theres no point in looking at a track pad. If they are going to provide visual feedback then it should be on the screen where the mouse cursor is since that is what you are looking at, like what Vista does with its tablet pc functionality. Having the trackpad glow and flash will just be distracting and a waste of battery life/money.

kwikdeth
Jul 16, 2007, 11:20 PM
going back to the (now disputed) iPhone nano concept, wouldn't the application of this to the touchwheel interface provide an excellent means of giving feedback when you are dialing a number?
Apple's not stupid, they know that the key to getting into the cellphone market is by having an inexpensive handset without all the flashy features. this on an ipod-mini sized phone with illuminated scrollwheel seems perfect.

GoCubsGo
Jul 16, 2007, 11:23 PM
Wait why would they do this? Is it necessary? Waste of battery.

kissmyaxe
Jul 16, 2007, 11:43 PM
Damn, from the pictures it looks like only people with fat fingers will be able to use it. Oh well... ;)

belovedmonster
Jul 17, 2007, 03:13 AM
Bingo.

Future Apple laptops will clamshell two screens. They will eventually try to get us off of keyboards altogether, as keyboards represent one of the last true mechanical components of a computer and a common point of failure.

That would be sweet. Especially if it can play DS games too :D

vanzskater272
Jul 17, 2007, 03:17 AM
I always knew that would be a good idea. I remember when my dad first got his iPod he said "why wont this part light up?"

whooleytoo
Jul 17, 2007, 04:37 AM
I'm not sure how useful this idea is yet. I've found Apple trackpads (and the iPod scroll wheel) to be very reliable in registering taps/drags so I don't know why visual feedback is in any way necessary - unless of course they're planning on adding further gestures which might be more complex.

That said, one place I'd love to see it (but we probably won't see it) is in Boot Camp. For some reason, the MBP trackpad seems far, far less accurate in Windows, so I'd love to see some visual feedback from the trackpad to see what it thinks I'm doing! ;)

It'd at least be visually appealing if they put a screen in there too. You could have little ripples around your finger tips as you tap, or waves as you drag. Or - more usefully - you could even display controls on the trackpad screen to manipulate with your fingers (a knob to turn, a slider to slide etc.)

SvenSvenson
Jul 17, 2007, 05:15 AM
You look at an iphone screen while you touch it, theres no point in looking at a track pad.

You're using circular reasoning - you don't look at the trackpad because there's nothing to see. Therefor there's no point in putting something to see there.

If there was something to see, you'd start to look at it.

We all know that if Apple implement this, they will more than likely make a good job of it.

Fuzilah
Jul 17, 2007, 07:22 AM
what the hell is that thing for...


Radiohead uses one of these, at least on some of the "Kid A" tracks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0s38lHIwRc

pretty cool

MacBiscuit
Jul 17, 2007, 07:33 AM
Looking at the patent application, this seems to be mainly intended to allow you to recreate the Michael Jackson video for Billie Jean with your fingers (cool!) Apologies to anyone under the age of 30...

I do worry about the health implications. Those fingers look grotesquely swollen to me.

zombitronic
Jul 17, 2007, 08:49 AM
If I had cash I'd be investing it in whatever company makes these for Apple.

Or even better, AAPL.

Clive At Five
Jul 17, 2007, 09:08 AM
Thanks for posting the pictures. I could see the iPod one looking cool, though it would be largely irrelevant. Again, who looks at the clickwheel while they are scrolling through songs? Not I.

-Clive

fractured
Jul 17, 2007, 10:29 AM
How about an ultra portable with the bottom being an optical glass screen with LCD keyboard and trackpad area? The letters glow faintly until you strike them with fingers. With each touch, the glow flashes to another colour and there is a faint electrical pulse emmitted to your finger. Wouldn't that same keyboard surface be useful in another mode as a multi-touch gesture pad for scrolling web pages, moving documents about your HD heirarchy, editing photos, music and websites, etc? Imagine gesturing for your keyboard to come up to name an audio file you just created, tapping a point on it near the tail and pinching it to fade it out. Then, you could pull it forward to align it with a drum track you'd recorded earlier, adding a guitar part to it.

The furure's so bright, gotta wear...

Tricksy
Jul 17, 2007, 12:17 PM
Haha - this is to enable apple to put the entire display on the trackpad...

Backlighting LCD's anyone? :D

OwlsAndApples
Jul 17, 2007, 12:28 PM
Radiohead uses one of these, at least on some of the "Kid A" tracks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0s38lHIwRc

pretty cool

Matt Bellamy from Muse has one built into his guitar! Now that's cool! :D

Oops...sorry for carrying on this mini sub-thread :p

morespce54
Jul 17, 2007, 01:32 PM
I forget that my powerbook has a backlit keyboard, because all it does is look cool and drain the battery, and I turned it off long ago. I can see what I type on the screen, and it's far more effective than looking at the keyboard.

Maybe for you but I do work quite late at night and a backlit keyboard is the only thing missing on my PB... So I can see (even if I don't need it yet) a backlit trackpad...

mike016256
Jul 17, 2007, 04:56 PM
Yeah but gestures on the trackpad could really prove convenient. I am already really liking the two finger scroll and right click. If they implemented application specific controls (like a clickwheel for iTunes), Apple could really be going somewhere...

Fairly
Jul 18, 2007, 07:51 AM
This is just too cool. Where do they come up with these ideas?

In a related note Bill Gates has promised important updates to Notepad, Minesweeper, and Xune in the next fortnight. :p

Rollershapple
Jul 18, 2007, 01:51 PM
Im pretty sure I can find my track pad in the dark :rolleyes:

k2k koos
Jul 19, 2007, 06:38 AM
Backlit surface controllers are not entirely new, here is a YouTube link to one type of application, but perhaps it visualises some ways on how it could be used on Apple's products. (segments on the iPod click wheel, visualising how loud you set the volume perhaps?)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ5GGofqUfg&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fmatrixsynth%2Eblogspot%2Ecom%2F