Apple Developing Backlit Trackpad?

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    #1
    [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]


    The invention in a trackpad configuration.

    [​IMG]


    The invention embodied as an iPod click-wheel.

    Raw Data: Patent Application 20070152977

    Article Link: Apple Developing Backlit Trackpad?
     
  2. macrumors 65816

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    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors 601

    BornAgainMac

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    #3
    A backlit yellow band on the trackpad would be funny. Something new to complain about.
     
  4. macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors 68000

    FJ218700

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    thesdx

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. Editor emeritus

    longofest

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    #7
    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.
     
  8. macrumors 6502

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    #8
    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.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

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    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors G3

    bigandy

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    #10
    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.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Makes me think of the Kaoss Pad
    [​IMG]
     
  12. macrumors G3

    bigandy

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    #12
    of course, unless your disability means you have no feeling in your fingers. in that sense, it could be very useful.
     
  13. macrumors regular

    marco114

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    #13
    wait... This is about computers, this must be a different Apple we're talking about. :D
     
  14. arn
    macrumors god

    arn

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    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
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    MrCrowbar

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    #15
    So true. It does have the clicking noise, but that gets so annoying :)
    Feedback is good.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    thesdx

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    #16
    Yeah, me too! The Kaoss pad changes colors as you move your finger around the touchpad.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Clive At Five

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    #17
    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
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    k2k koos

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    #18
    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:
     
  19. macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #19
    seems pretty interesting
     
  20. dhc
    macrumors regular

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    #20
    Maybe the trackpad will actually be a small screen, with multitouch functionality? Dynamic icons that appear depending on you current usage?
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    guzhogi

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    #21
    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.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    what the hell is that thing for...
     
  23. macrumors member

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    #23
    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.
     
  24. macrumors regular

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    #24
    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.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    thesdx

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    #25
    The Kaoss pad is a DJ tool made by Korg that allows you to warp and effect sounds.
     

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