updated 12:00 pm EDT, Fri July 11, 2008
More Apple touch patents
Apple may intend to take touch technology well beyond handhelds, notebooks and desktops, a new patent filing suggests. The application mentions, for example, that a camera could be equipped with a touch-sensitive lens body, which would detect gestures to operate controls. People could for instance use a two-fingered combination to change exposure settings -- sliding the index finger around for aperture -- or three fingers to control zoom and focus.
Apple further proposes extending the concept to an object like a baseball-shaped gaming controller. Like the camera lens, the baseball would have a touch-sensitive surface, which would first enable a gaming system to detect that the controller was active. At this point two fingers would be used detect the kind of throw a player wanted to use in a sports game, such as a knuckleball.
A more conventional application would let users interact with their car, through a trackpad or a touchscreen, such as one on a tablet computer. The operation would function wirelessly, through an antenna on the car, and a Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or RF transmitter on the controller.
The patent aids speculation that Apple is building a tablet with a final section, depicting a "virtual knob" for volume and scrollwheel control on a tablet's touchscreen. To make the knob more intuitive, a tablet could be equipped with clicking feedback sound, as well as haptic vibration to simulate the increments in a real knob.