New Apple patent for multi-sided interface


Apple has filed another user interface patent, this one for a device that has a top surface used as a display (nothing new so far) and a bottom force-sensitive touch-surface that would capture the user input (cursor movement and control element selections like button pushes). Essentially, you would control your device using the back of it and see the results on the front screen. The cursor identifies where on the back-side touch-surface the user’s finger has made contact. When the cursor is positioned over the desired control element, the user selects or activates the function associated with the control element by applying pressure to the force-sensitive touch-surface with their finger. Accordingly, the electronic device may be operated with a single hand, wherein cursor movement and control element selection may be accomplished without lifting one’s finger.

This is certainly one way to address the issue of smudges on displays that also act as inputs (like the upcoming iPhone or the LG Prada).

Some are speculating that this patent could be the basis for a future iPhone 2.0 – this theory is supported by pictures showing a keypad and dial button in the patent application. The patent suggests that the techniques proposed could also work on other mobile phones such as PDAs, tablet PCs, and various portable media players.

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