Apple Researching Removable Mobile Device Clip with Tactile Trackpad Controls

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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
  2. macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2010
    I have no idea what this apparatus does.

    I miss the times Apple filed patents for rounded rectangles. At least I understood those things.
  3. macrumors 68030

    Feb 17, 2009
    Samsung will do this with a 9 inch clip version and claim they always had it!
  4. macrumors 68040


    A remote control? For your iPod Touch?

    Guess it makes sense if your iPod is docked to some speakers or something.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    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?
  6. macrumors 6502


    May 3, 2005
    Motor City (Detroit, not Tokyo)
    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.
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    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.
  8. johnnyturbouk, Jan 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013

    macrumors demi-god


    Feb 9, 2011
    southerner trapped 'up north' (UK)
    I think you mean a 9" strap-on

    The Samsung mantra
    'Why innovate, when you can imitiate! :p
  9. macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2012
    Looks like something that would be easy to lose.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2009
  11. macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2012
    Frankfurt am Main
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    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.
  13. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    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.
  14. macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2011
    I'd bet money on this being one of them. Kind of like the nylon buggy whip patented in 1936.

  15. macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    A great way of putting tactile game buttons on a iDevice.
  16. macrumors G5


    Nov 14, 2011
  17. macrumors 68020


    Jan 26, 2003
    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.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2008
    This is the accessory my 2nd gen iPod has been missing though I'm not impressed with its "Cataract Display".
  19. macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2009
    Middle England
    Great - another remote to lose down the back of the sofa. "Find my remote".
  20. macrumors 68030


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    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?
  21. sza
    macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2010
    Finally we see some updates on iPod Classic hopefully :D
  22. macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2012
    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.
  23. macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2009
    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.

    A pair of headphones with a remote on it?
  24. macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2010
    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 :confused:

    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)
  25. macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    I would agree. This really doesn't seem useful, especially as a clip on a device.

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