- Apr 12, 2001
Hrmph reports on a recently released patent filed by Apple for a configurable input system that is shown to be applicable for an iPod and a laptop computer.
Apple seems to propose that you take a blank iPod and add a wheel for a standard iPod, add a keypad to make it a phone - add a joystick to make it a game machine. The overlays are identified by the computer/device and it reacts accordingly. Imagine adding a nice volume control to your iPod. The blank iPod can be made into a PDA, cell phone, game machine, handtop or remote control.
Add a joystick to your MacBook? How about a mixing desk?
Presumably, this would allow third-party vendors to design their on interfaces for the iPod/MacBook- this would make an extremely versatile machine. Examples mention by Apple include surfaces to make your MacBook a music/video editing machine or even overlays allowing you to add two buttons to your MacBooks touchpad.
The concept is based around adding physical/tactile controls over a touch-sensitive pad. By having such a modular system, an iPod or laptop could become even more multi-functional. The following image depicts several different modules that could be used on a laptop.
As a grain of salt, readers are reminded that Apple routinely patents technology that never makes it into shipping products.