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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:16 AM   #1
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Apple Researching Removable Mobile Device Clip with Tactile Trackpad Controls




Patently Apple highlights an interesting Apple patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today. The application describes a removable clip for a mobile device such as an iPod, with the clip integrating tactile or trackpad like controls to be used either while attached to the device or as a remote control.
Quote:
In one embodiment, an apparatus includes a body having a bend and a user interface area, a connector adapted to couple to a corresponding connector on an electronic device, and a plurality of conductive elements. The bend enables the user interface area to wrap around a portion of the electronic device when the connector is coupled to the corresponding connector on the electronic device. In another embodiment, a portable electronic system includes a removable user interface and an electronic computing device having a display surface, where the removable user interface is couplable to the electronic computing device such that the removable user interface is disposed over at least a part of the display surface.
Various embodiments of Apple's removable clip with tactile controls
Despite the patent application having been filed in July 2011, the diagrams in some cases depict a classic iPod with a relatively small screen and a click wheel on the front of the device. Various embodiments of the invention show the touch portion of the clip being used on the front of the device, either with on-screen content shrinking to fit below the clip or with content being displayed behind the transparent clip to provide a dynamic interface for the clip's tactile buttons. Alternatively, the clip could be mounted in reverse to place buttons on the rear of the device, or removed entirely and clipped onto a connector on a headphone cord to serve as a remote control for the device.

As with many of Apple's patent applications, the removable clip may never make an appearance in an Apple product, but the document provides an interesting glimpse at some of the areas of interest for Apple, and certain aspects of the technology could eventually appear in a different form.

Article Link: Apple Researching Removable Mobile Device Clip with Tactile Trackpad Controls
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:21 AM   #2
RubenTheys
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I have no idea what this apparatus does.

I miss the times Apple filed patents for rounded rectangles. At least I understood those things.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:24 AM   #3
Thunderhawks
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Originally Posted by RubenTheys View Post
I have no idea what this apparatus does.

I miss the times Apple filed patents for rounded rectangles. At least I understood those things.
Samsung will do this with a 9 inch clip version and claim they always had it!
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:27 AM   #4
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A remote control? For your iPod Touch?

Guess it makes sense if your iPod is docked to some speakers or something.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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Does anyone else have the feeling that this isn't for a product that Apple wants to make, but for a product they want to prevent the competition from making?
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:32 AM   #6
mtrctyjoe
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My $.02

Looks more like some paper work they forgot to file from 6 years ago ... I could see this being pretty handy for Joggers ... would be nice to have some tactile feedback.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:33 AM   #7
hipnetic
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How about a fairly small sleeve/add-on for the iPhone that gives you hard volume up/down buttons, a D-Pad, and an IR transmitter, but doesn't cover up the touchscreen? The iPhone's virtual screen is great for advanced functions when controlling your A/V equipment, but the lack of a few dedicated hard buttons makes it a poor replacement for an old-fashioned remote control.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:45 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Thunderhawks View Post
Samsung will do this with a 9 inch clip version and claim they always had it!
I think you mean a 9" strap-on

The Samsung mantra
'Why innovate, when you can imitiate!
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:48 AM   #9
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Looks like something that would be easy to lose.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 11:52 AM   #10
fiddlestyx
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No idea what the point of this would be ...
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:02 PM   #11
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Return of the Mac(k)... errr, Click Wheel
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestyx View Post
No idea what the point of this would be ...
jogging  
jog1 [ jog]

verb (used without object)

to run at a leisurely, slow pace, especially as an outdoor exercise: He jogs two miles every morning to keep in shape.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:06 PM   #13
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This looks interesting. I have a blind friend that wants to move into the 21st century for an audio device, possibly smartphone, but modern devices are not good for the blind with the all-capacitive interfaces.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:08 PM   #14
Tinmania
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
As with many of Apple's patent applications, the removable clip may never make an appearance in an Apple product...
I'd bet money on this being one of them. Kind of like the nylon buggy whip patented in 1936.



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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:08 PM   #15
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A great way of putting tactile game buttons on a iDevice.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minifridge1138 View Post
Does anyone else have the feeling that this isn't for a product that Apple wants to make, but for a product they want to prevent the competition from making?
No.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestyx View Post
No idea what the point of this would be ...
Is it really that hard to figure out? I think it's a brilliant solution to a very annoying problem.

Imagine you're walking and have your iPod in your pocket. A song comes up you don't want to listen to. If you have this clip-on device attached, you can simply reach in and hit the next button--easy to find in your pocket since it's got actual buttons. This is something that is next to impossible to do with the current generation of iPods and iPhones that are primarily controlled by touch.

Now, let's see if Apple is smart enough to design this to also work as a game controller.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:13 PM   #18
HarryKeogh
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This is the accessory my 2nd gen iPod has been missing though I'm not impressed with its "Cataract Display".
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:22 PM   #19
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Great - another remote to lose down the back of the sofa. "Find my remote".
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minifridge1138 View Post
Does anyone else have the feeling that this isn't for a product that Apple wants to make, but for a product they want to prevent the competition from making?
The actual issue I see is a problem with submitting patents. Others see what you want to do, get ideas, and can then come out with something similar around the same time you release something.

Imagine something like: Apple patents a method for magnifying the screen. A phone of only 3.5" can magnify like a hologram to a 7" size. You get the best of both worlds - a small phone, but a large screen. Samsung sees this patent, and creates a Galaxy S4 which does this, and comes out with it right before Apple. Samsung fans now think Samsung thought of it first.

Irregardless of the story, pro-Apple or pro-Samsung, I see a problem with patents, where 'secrets' are being released to the competitors. Maybe patents can be filed in secret, but not officially issued until a product with the patents comes out?
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:31 PM   #21
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Finally we see some updates on iPod Classic hopefully
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:31 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkswamp View Post
..Imagine you're walking and have your iPod in your pocket. A song comes up you don't want to listen to. If you have this clip-on device attached, you can simply reach in and hit the next button--easy to find in your pocket since it's got actual buttons. This is something that is next to impossible to do with the current generation of iPods and iPhones that are primarily controlled by touch...
I understand the problem, but doesn't the headphones apple brought out with buttons/voiceover/mic defeat this? Having the small block on the headphones is a fantastic and innovative way of controls that are on-hand and there without cluttering up a design, and the user's space: what problem does this clip-on tool solve that other products that haven't done in the past? That's the true mystery of this Patent.
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Kaibelf View Post
jogging  
jog1 [ jog]

verb (used without object)

to run at a leisurely, slow pace, especially as an outdoor exercise: He jogs two miles every morning to keep in shape.
Maybe invest in a shuffle, works perfectly when working out, at least it does for me everyday. Heck, maybe just make a playlist entitled "jogging," no need to change to the next song.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inkswamp View Post
Is it really that hard to figure out? I think it's a brilliant solution to a very annoying problem.

Imagine you're walking and have your iPod in your pocket. A song comes up you don't want to listen to. If you have this clip-on device attached, you can simply reach in and hit the next button--easy to find in your pocket since it's got actual buttons. This is something that is next to impossible to do with the current generation of iPods and iPhones that are primarily controlled by touch.

Now, let's see if Apple is smart enough to design this to also work as a game controller.
A pair of headphones with a remote on it?
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:45 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbeagle View Post
The actual issue I see is a problem with submitting patents. Others see what you want to do, get ideas, and can then come out with something similar around the same time you release something.

Imagine something like: Apple patents a method for magnifying the screen. A phone of only 3.5" can magnify like a hologram to a 7" size. You get the best of both worlds - a small phone, but a large screen. Samsung sees this patent, and creates a Galaxy S4 which does this, and comes out with it right before Apple. Samsung fans now think Samsung thought of it first.

Irregardless of the story, pro-Apple or pro-Samsung, I see a problem with patents, where 'secrets' are being released to the competitors. Maybe patents can be filed in secret, but not officially issued until a product with the patents comes out?
Yeah but patents are supposed to show the competition, what one company has already designed! Just imagine you want to design a new product and find out later, that company X, Y and Z covers 70% of what your product involves.

On topic: I wish they would just finally make the old iPod nano with the touch screen work as a smart watch...I don't get what's so hard with that

Besides tactile feedback one of the two reasons why I use Cowon player (the other one being the superior sound quality compared to Apple products)
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Old Jan 17, 2013, 12:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minifridge1138 View Post
Does anyone else have the feeling that this isn't for a product that Apple wants to make, but for a product they want to prevent the competition from making?
I would agree. This really doesn't seem useful, especially as a clip on a device.
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