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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
56,975
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Appleinsider details a new patent applicaton from Apple which explores the possibility of seperating the display from the touch interface by placing the touch screen interface on the back of the device.

Apple describes the problems related to the use of a touch interface screen in the more traditional screen + touch interface together. The problems include obscuring the screen with your hand and introducing smudges onto the screen.

Instead the use of "back side touch" would eliminate these issues but still provide user interface feedback with the use of an on-screen cursor which identifies where the touch-interface is being used.

More specifically, a force-sensitive touch-surface is provided on a first or back-side surface of the device through which a user provides input (e.g., cursor manipulation and control element selection/activation)," the company wrote. "On a second or front-side surface, a display element is used to present one or more control elements and a cursor that is controlled through manipulation of the back-side touch-surface.

The patent is credited to John Elias who was one of the founders of Fingerworks, a company who had done much work in the field of touch-interfaces. Apple acquired Fingerworks in 2005.
 

gallagb

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2004
461
0
IN
another cool hint----

of something we might never see.

or maybe we will- neat though
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
16,308
5,585
i dunno about having to flip it that much....you would still touch the front.

you wouldn't flip it. you would touch in on the back and still look at it from the front. read the description again.

arn
 

P-Worm

macrumors 68020
Jul 16, 2002
2,045
0
Salt Lake City, UT
This just seems a bit awkward to me. How easy is it to select thing you can't really see? Sure the is a cursor to let you know where you are touching, but I'd rather not fumble around like that.

P-Worm
 

Bye Bye Baby

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2004
1,152
0
i(am in the)cloud
If you think of it...

This just seems a bit awkward to me. How easy is it to select thing you can't really see? Sure the is a cursor to let you know where you are touching, but I'd rather not fumble around like that.

P-Worm

If you think about it though, when you use the scroll wheel on your ipod, do you look at the wheel or the screen? Personally I am not even thinking about the scroll wheel when I use the ipod. I am not sure that putting it on the back may make such a difference.
 

amac4me

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,303
0
If we see this iPod at some point in the future, you can bet it will be released AFTER the release of the iPhone.

No way Apple would release a new generation iPod that could take away sales from the iPhone.
 

Teddy's

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2006
441
12
Toronto
It makes sense

Yeah, just try it (virtually). Close your eyes, imagine a screen, then put your fingers on the back, move them around and do the trick. *No, i am not being sarcastic.

And what about the "cases" industry? They would have a hard time figuring out a case for it.

Cheers
 

JMax1

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2006
424
1
Harlem, NY
There are so many things we do without looking at our fingers. I dont know about you, but texting, typing on the computer, playing an instrument, hand guestures, using the mouse... so many thing we use without looking at out hands. Granted, at FIRST we look at our hands, but then our motor-memory kicks in and we let our fingers do the walking.

I think it would be a neat idea, a good way to be smudge-free. I'm imagining holding my iPod with my index and thumbs both hands, and using my middle fingers do access the touch pad on the other side. It might be tough to use the far left and right hand sides of the underside, and people with smaller fingers might have a tough time reaching the middle.

neat approach and practical solution, but I think too many people will be scared of it, no matter how practical. This is probably Apply brainstorming solutions to smudging. Probably wont happen but they saw the neat idea and wanted to protect their valuable brain-property.
 

RRK

macrumors 6502
Mar 14, 2007
456
0
USA/Ohio/Columbus
I have doubts about this one. I can see controlling a curser in this way but can you actually believe that we would be able to type using a virtual keyboard on the back while looking at the keys on the front. Presuming you will have two handed typing like Blackberrys and such and are using your forefingers to hold the device then your thumbs are above the screen. You will have to type with your middle fingers. :confused:
 

koobcamuk

macrumors 68040
Oct 23, 2006
3,194
9
OK... does anyone else wonder how the hell to hold the thing if you're looking at the whole of the front and controlling it via all of the back?

holding it could be a nightmare... you'd touch the front screen anyway - just holding it!
 

oscuh

macrumors 6502
Apr 27, 2007
314
0
Michigan
A Precursor?

This might simply be patent acquisition in order to protect their interests regarding "something else" that may or may not come along ... eventually ... maybe.

People thought there was no way to effectively control all those buttons when the PlayStation, et al came out. See how that ended up? I don't think it'd be all that difficult to touch the back to control the front. Wait, that sounded dirty ...
 

mackensteff

macrumors member
Feb 11, 2006
66
0
This idea was actually proposed by a reader (can't remember who) when the idea of a full screen ipod gained momentum. To all the idea killers, think before you respond, THIS IS the next generation user interface for the ipod. The added benefit is no more whinning about all the smudges on the screen.
 

ifjake

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2004
562
1
i don't think i get it. touching the screen is bad for the iPod, but perfectly acceptable for the iPhone?
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,995
10
Citizens Bank Park
The patent is credited to John Elias who was one of the founders of Fingerworks, a company who had done much work in the field of touch-interfaces. Apple acquired Fingerworks in 2005.

A little off topic, but I took two courses (Microprocessor Systems and Analog Circuits) taught by Professor Elias at the University of Delaware. Brilliant guy. His Fingerworks boards are amazing.
 

RRK

macrumors 6502
Mar 14, 2007
456
0
USA/Ohio/Columbus
Seriously, anyone grab your iPod and try to find any logical way that you could hold your iPod without twisting your wrists inward in a very un-ergonomic way. If you can figure it out id like to see it.
 
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