updated 01:40 pm EDT, Thu May 12, 2011
Supports re-introduction of cameras to Nanos
Two newly-published Apple patent applications hint at possible product plans for the company. Most significant is one appearing to depict a sixth-generation touchscreen iPod nano, but with additional sensors such as ones for audio, motion or even temperature. Among these is a camera, something that was included on the fifth-generation Nano but conspicuously omitted in the shift to a smaller design.
While many Apple patents fail to come to fruition, the Nano document may back reports that a seventh-generation player will restore the camera. Images of alleged production samples are circulating online, as well as some accompanying information. One source has claimed that the next Nano will include a slightly better camera than the one in the iPad 2, upgraded from 1 to 1.3 megapixels.
The second patent, Input Devices and Methods of Operation, proposes an unusual keyboard design. To provide tactile feedback, a keyboard could expel air from a key when a proximity sensor detects a nearby finger. As an alternative the key itself might move, driven by an extremely small pneumatic system. Apple could theoretically implement one of the options in future peripherals to make touch typing easier.