On April 12, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s continuation patent application titled Method and Apparatus for Accelerated Scrolling . Apple’s patent generally relates to the iPod’s Click Wheel. Yet the one twist that stood out most in this patent is Apple’s illustration of incorporating their iPod Click Wheel into a keyboard in place of a numeric pad. However, in light of Apple’s many patents relating to their forthcoming multitouch display based iPhone, the concept of the Click Wheel being integrated into their keyboard could easily be transplanted by a multitouch area. This would still remain within the patents intent of usage. By accomplishing this, the user wouldn’t be limited to just iTunes scrolling. The multi-touch display would eliminate the mouse and allow users to simply use their finger, as Steve Jobs demonstrated this year when introducing the iPhone. Additionally, the multitouch area could incorporate any number of LED icons for the user to press on in order to use the multi-touch area as a calculator widget, a phone pad, a detachable games pad or any of a thousand widgets that the consumer so chooses. For consumers, the old standing keyboard numeric pad has little to no value whatsoever and being that Apple is in their reinvent-mode of late, the time would be right to pull this off.
Apple’s Abstract: Improved approaches for users to with graphical user interfaces of computing devices are disclosed. A rotational user action supplied by a user via a user input device can provide accelerated scrolling. The accelerated nature of the scrolling enables users to scroll or traverse a lengthy data set (e.g., list of items) faster and with greater ease. The amount of acceleration provided can be performed in successive stages, and/or performed based on the speed of the rotational user action. In one embodiment, the rotational user action is transformed into linear action with respect to a graphical user interface. The resulting acceleration effect causes the linear action to be enhanced such that a lengthy data set is able to be rapidly traversed.
Click Wheel Keyboard
Apple’s patent discusses the incorporation of a Click Wheel within a keyboard by stating that “the keyboard apparatus includes a plurality of keys and a rotational input unit. The rotational input unit allows a user to perform a rotational movement with respect to the rotational input unit. The rotational movement (rotational user input) can then be processed by the electronic circuitry of the computer system and used to manipulate navigation or selection actions with respect to a graphical user interface being presented to the user on the display device. The keyboard apparatus can also include a button associated with the rotational input unit. As shown in FIG. 7A, the button can be provided at a center region of the rotational input unit. However, the button is not required and, if provided, can be placed elsewhere, such as outside the periphery of the rotational input unit.
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Written and researched by Neo.