Apple Developing Backlit Trackpad?

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

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.


    The invention in a trackpad configuration.


    The invention embodied as an iPod click-wheel.

    Raw Data: Patent Application 20070152977

    Article Link: Apple Developing Backlit Trackpad?
  2. NewSc2 macrumors 65816

    Jun 4, 2005
    Orange County, CA
    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. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    A backlit yellow band on the trackpad would be funny. Something new to complain about.
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    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. FJ218700 macrumors 68000


    Mar 8, 2007
    Blue Dot, Red State
    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. thesdx macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2007
    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. longofest Editor emeritus


    Jul 10, 2003
    Falls Church, VA
    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. MLeepson macrumors 6502

    Apr 4, 2007
    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. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    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. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    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. rainydays macrumors 6502a

    Nov 6, 2006
  12. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    of course, unless your disability means you have no feeling in your fingers. in that sense, it could be very useful.
  13. marco114 macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2001
    wait... This is about computers, this must be a different Apple we're talking about. :D
  14. arn macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    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.

  15. MrCrowbar macrumors 68000


    Jan 12, 2006
    So true. It does have the clicking noise, but that gets so annoying :)
    Feedback is good.
  16. thesdx macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2007
    Yeah, me too! The Kaoss pad changes colors as you move your finger around the touchpad.
  17. Clive At Five macrumors 65816

    Clive At Five

    May 26, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    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.

  18. k2k koos macrumors 6502a

    k2k koos

    Jan 21, 2003
    Somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow
    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. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
  20. dhc macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Maybe the trackpad will actually be a small screen, with multitouch functionality? Dynamic icons that appear depending on you current usage?
  21. guzhogi macrumors 68020


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    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. Yankees 4 Life macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2007
    College Station, Tx
    what the hell is that thing for...
  23. dscottbuch macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2002
    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. wHo_tHe macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2002
    :: :: All bay, all day.

    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. thesdx macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2007
    The Kaoss pad is a DJ tool made by Korg that allows you to warp and effect sounds.

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