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Apple patent leads to smaller iPhone

updated 09:45 am EDT, Thu May 10, 2007

Apple Backside Touch

Apple has developed a patent that may point the way towards smaller iPhones and touch-sensitive iPods, according to a filing published today. Titled "Back-Side Interface for Hand-Held Devices," the patent hopes to resolve the problem of including touch-sensitive input on smaller screens where the user's hand would obscure the content. The solution described would include a touch-sensitive surface on the opposite side of the screen: users would direct a cursor on the main screen by gliding a finger along the back surface corresponding to the control, triggering actions by applying extra pressure.

The technology would not only save space but would solve some of the other problems inherent to touchscreens, according to Apple. The use of touch controls on the reverse face would eliminate smudging without resorting to the use of a stylus. Owners of a theoretical future device could control many functions with one hand.

Importantly, the company's patent application has direct implications for both future iPods and iPhones. Illustrations contained within the patent show the main screen's interface allowing an on-screen overlay of the signature iPod click wheel as well as a keypad for placing phone calls or a keyboard for text entry. It could also address PDA-style functions, the firm adds in its claims.

Apple's patent was notably filed on January 5th, just a few days before the official announcement of the iPhone.



(image via Unwired View)




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. ruperts

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    a smaller iphone

    yes, bring it on.. this is what i've been waiting for

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    interesting

    Finally a patent application that needn't be filed under D for "duh" or that seems to ignore plenty of prior art (such as the magsafe cord that apparently is fairly common with Japanese kitchen appliances).

    The other advantage of this is avoiding scratches and smudges to the screen.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    soon to be stolen

    by Microsoft, but in a very clumsy way.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    cool_

    iPhone Mini or Nano_

    But then again - the original iPod [gen1] was much "bigger" and heavier than todays current offerings_

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    oh yeah_

    I do have to commend MacNN for finally after months and months of shoveling meaningless dribble at us - they report something news worthy_

    Way to go MacNN_

    I knew you had it in you_

    Now - let's see how long you can keep it up_

  1. SunSeeker

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Doh!

    Must remember to patent Ideas before broadcasting on the World Wide Web

    http://www.engadget.com/2006/07/06/apple-to-ace-the-ipod-click-wheel-not-likely/#comments

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    wow

    Nice going sunseeker, you nailed it. And you beat Apple to the patent office by 6 months! Or at least you could have; it's the thought that counts. You can tell your grandkids about this one. (Back to your engadget post, I like the guy who posted right after you 2 hours later and pretended that controls on the back were something he just came up with.)

    Finally, what's with the headline on this article? It implies 1) that Apple is working on a smaller iPhone and 2) that the primary benefit of this is smaller devices. How about "Apple patent portends less smudgy iPhones"

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