iPhone 4 - Seams = Touch Sensors | Physical buttons for mute and camera

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by ipedro, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. ipedro macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #1
    Much has been made about the seams in the new iPhone prototype. There appears to be no apparent purpose since the battery is not user accessible and Apple has mastered unibody machining that would make a seamless metal band around the iPhone possible. That indicates that Apple put them there on purpose.

    If you look closely, you can see that these are not seams at all. They're intentionally wide, with a black bit (plastic?) in between. A seam would usually be where two or more parts come together, there would be no intermediate part.

    [​IMG]

    There was an Apple patent regarding covering an opening to activate a function in a mobile phone. I believe this is it. The seams are in fact sensors that allow light to reach into the phone and when covered, perform an action.

    [​IMG]

    I propose that Apple is looking to add new "buttons" to the phone, without actually adding buttons. Quick functions that need to be readily available in physical buttons are: Power, Lock, Home, Volume, mute, screen orientation lock, camera app and shutter button.

    The ability of the existing buttons to perform these actions has been exhausted. I believe we'll see some changes and additions. Here's what I think we'll see:

    Mute - Cover top seam
    This is near the headphone jack, which is intuitive and makes perfect sense.

    Screen Orientation Lock - Switch on side
    Previously assigned to mute. Consistent with iPad.

    Camera App - Cover seams on the side
    An increase in MP and the addition of a flash will make the iPhone, most people's main point and shoot. For this, the camera app needs to be activated a lot quicker to enable it to match purpose built camera's ability to capture candid and spontaneous moments.

    One option is to leave the camera always on in the background and call it up by touching the App's icon. However, this would unnecessarily drain the battery and raise privacy concerns. A more efficient way is to "predict" that the user will use the camera at any second and begin turning it on. This can be detected when the user changes the orientation of the phone to the side followed by a rapid but gradual decrease in light reaching the sensors in the seams, followed by total darkness, meaning the user has covered both seams, as if holding the phone as a camera.
    Once the app is on and ready in the background, pressing one of the buttons on the side (the top in landscape orientation) would bring the app to the foreground for the user -- although it was already pre-launched when covering the seams. Pressing one of those buttons again would engage the shutter and take the picture.

    These seams could have other multi-purpose functions such as playback in iPod for example.

    This iPhone will once again fling it far ahead of the competition with new input methods and industrial design that will set the new bar.
     
  2. jtara macrumors 65816

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    #2
    Ever use your phone at night?
     
  3. STEVESKI07 macrumors 68000

    STEVESKI07

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    #3
    I like your "out of the box" thinking, but I think the theory in the other thread is correct in that it is used to cushion the phone against drops. If I were a teacher and you were a student of mine, you'd get a high grade for effort though.
     
  4. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #4
    Can you see at night? Yes? There's light, even if minimal. The difference between minimal light and no light is detectable.

    In addition, who says that light has to be visible? There is light in different spectrums, a lot of which human eyes don't detect. Infrared and ultraviolet are "seen" in total darkness. A sensor for infrared light could work in any environment.
     
  5. LoganT macrumors 68020

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    #5
    I bet the screen would provide enough light to prevent that.
     
  6. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #6
    Thanks for acknowledging my theory. :)

    I just read the other thread about shock absorption and I don't feel that it is accurate. The unibody MacBook's and iPad don't have any such shock absorption. Further, that theory would only necessitate a single break in the metal to absorb a shock. There are three on this phone.

    I'm convinced that this sensor theory will be unveiled in June, if not sooner through a closer look at the photos Gizmodo has in their possession.
     
  7. Dr Kevorkian94 macrumors 68020

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    #8
    i love the idea but there is 2 problems: first night time and second a case it would be a r-tarted case if u wanted to put one on ur iphone. but i still love the idea:D

    regardless of what the are i still want one im giddying with excitement :D
     
  8. Ohsnaps!itsjeff macrumors newbie

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  9. ComputersaysNo macrumors 6502

    ComputersaysNo

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    #10
    Yeah but...no but... yeah but... what about having a case around it to protect your prototype? Sensors wouldn't work anymore?
     
  10. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #11
    I've addressed the night time challenge in detail above. In short: infrared and ultraviolet light is detected in pitch darkness.

    Cases aren't Apple's problem. In fact, I'm sure Steve and Ive cringe whenever they see their creation covered up in thick rubber and crazy glam iPhone condoms. :p My white 3G came naked to the world and has remained naked for 2 years.

    That said, a case designer would have to take these into account, just like they did for the hidden proximity and light sensors and just like they'll have to for the new top ambient noise mic.
     
  11. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #12
    The iPhone doesn't need to leave Infinite Loop to test the sensors. They do need to leave the campus to test network conditions outside in the real world. I don't believe the offsite testers were testing the iPhone prototype's functions other than network. There are purpose indicated testers working with laser focus on every function of the iPhone 4 at the labs.
     
  12. nitromaxx macrumors member

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    #13
    Good call. I could see that. Also, many silicone cases made for the 3G/3GS still allow the proximity sensors to function.
     
  13. Nocaster macrumors regular

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    #14
    Great theory, but the problem I see is accidental covering during normal phone use. Accidentally opening the camera ap while texting would get old in about 3 seconds and I'd have the world's most expenseive pond skimmer. :)
     
  14. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #15
    Proximity sensors are Light sensors. It's just the name that's given to them if their function is to detect proximity. The same sensor could equally be used to detect ambient light. In this case, they'll probably be called "Touch sensors" since their purpose is to detect touch, even though all they're detecting is the user's finger covering the light.
     
  15. ComputersaysNo macrumors 6502

    ComputersaysNo

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    #16
    I was refering to the new iphone with 'prototype', and case as in people would actually buy to protect their precious. If anybody asks me if i have an Iphone, i would reply: 'no, it's a prototype', and from now on things don't get stolen, they get lost at a bar :p
     
  16. VforVelveta macrumors regular

    VforVelveta

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    #17
    If the two bottom seams are sensors that open the camera, they'll have to change the position of the disembodied hand in the current iPhone commercials, otherwise it'd be kinda a weird commercial.

    "Say you want to check out some local restaurants, too bad, because your camera keeps opening."
     
  17. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #18
    Sounds like compelling advertising to me.
     
  18. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #19
    LMAO @ "world's most expensive pond skimmer"! :D

    I've anticipated that in my theory above. Note that I suggest that the sensors work in conjunction with an actual button press. While holding the phone like a camera, you're covering the sensor or sensors on the sides. Actually pressing one of the buttons will "open the app".

    I would also suggest that the sensors will speed up the availability of the app by indicating your intention to use the camera. Holding the phone like a camera would open up the app in the background and make the camera available but not in use in the foreground. Pressing the shutter button would make the camera instantly ready for use. Pressing again would activate the shutter and take a picture.

    This is all speculation of course, but it seems increasingly likely, the more I look at these seams and their relatively (and otherwise unnecessarily) wide portal into the phone.
     
  19. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #20
    Don't believe they go into the phone. They're filled in with plastic/rubber.
     
  20. AML225 macrumors regular

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    #21
    And where does this UV and IR light come from? These spectrums don't just naturally exist everywhere.
     
  21. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68040

    ipedro

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    #22
    Our Sun. Trillions of other stars.

    Most night vision goggles work this way. There is always UV and IR everywhere on Earth day or night.
     
  22. testcard macrumors 68030

    testcard

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    #23
    From the event horizon of a Reality Distortion Field?
     
  23. AML225 macrumors regular

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    #24
    Our sun does emit ultraviolet light, but at night it doesn't just hang around. I'd LOVE to see where you're getting this information.

    Current night vision goggles rely on heavily amplifying ambient light (like you said from the moon or the stars) but a small black strip on the side of a tiny phone has no where near a wide enough aperture to collect this light. Night vision that relies on infrared light depends on the presence of an IR source, generally on the goggles themselves like an invisible to the naked eye flashlight.
     
  24. Fireproof! macrumors 6502a

    Fireproof!

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    #25
    WHAT IF - they are for LED visual notification of some sort? Like the slit in the front of the MacBooks.
     

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