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Two year-old iPhone nano patent draws headlines again

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
A dated patent filing for an iPhone nano concept has again garnered attention and inspired speculation in numerous media outlets, after the concept re-appeared in new Australian documents.

First revealed in a U.S. patent filing discovered by AppleInsider two years ago, the concept shows a multi-sided device with a LCD display on one side, and a touch- and force-sensitive interface on its back.

The idea aims to eliminate the problem of fingers getting in the the way of the screen. It would also negate the problem of fingerprint smudges, the application reads.

"A force-sensitive touch-surface is provided on a first or back-side surface of the device through which a user provides input (e.g., cursor manipulation and control element selection/activation)," the company wrote. "On a second or front-side surface, a display element is used to present one or more control elements and a cursor that is controlled through manipulation of the back-side touch-surface.

According to the filing, when the device is activated or placed into an operational state where it is appropriate, control elements (e.g., soft keys and menus) are displayed on the display element. The soft keys may be opaque or transparent (so as not to occlude prior displayed information such as a video presentation, a picture, a graphic or textual information). The displayed cursor would identify where on the back-side touch-surface the user has their finger.

"When the cursor is positioned over the desired control element/soft key (i.e., spatially overlapping on the display element), the user selects or activates the control element by applying pressure to the force-sensitive touch-surface with their finger," Apple explained. "Accordingly, the invention provides a means to operate a hand-held electronic device with one hand, wherein cursor movement and control element selection/activation may be accomplished without lifting one's finger. "



While the fundamentals of the patent can't be ruled out in regards to possible applications in future products, the notion of the iPhone nano as depicted appears to be a discarded one -- especially with a $99 iPhone 3G. All signs appear to indicate that Apple has since abandoned any notion of making a cheaper smaller phone



For more on the 2007 patent, read AppleInsider's coverage when the story first broke.
post #2 of 23
Some of the other sites are a little slow on the draw. There's no reason to revive this story now but for stock pumping.

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post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Some of the other sites are a little slow on the draw. There's no reason to revive this story now but for stock pumping.

Yeah, I don't understand why this has been resurrected, the article doesn't make it clear. What Australian documents? What other sites? Why's it important? Links? Little vague there, Insider.
post #4 of 23
I think this may run the risk of looking a little ho-hum today, given the variety of touchscreens out there.
post #5 of 23
The idea of controls on the back is interesting though. Could that be a feature of the iTablet?
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Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I think this may run the risk of looking a little ho-hum today, given the variety of touchscreens out there.

I used to think this was correct too. I thought Apple was only interested in putting an iPhone out that could take advantage of App store, iTunes, etc., for revenue reasons. But I also remember when they went after the flash based MP3 players with the introduction of the shuffle...years after the iPod MP3 player and cleaned up that segment of the market, too!

Having said this, I have a sneaky suspicion Apple has cottoned onto the very lucrative "Subscription Based" business model with the iPhones and could make a pile of money with a Nano phone that just has a camera, iPod and text in it. They would sell billions world wide and have another "halo effect" entry level product! Especially with 13 yr old girls and Paris Hilton!

If it were free or $49.95 with a 2 year contract with Verizon or open it up to all carriers-piles of cabbage to be made.

Johnno (Ives) could whip this up in afternoon!
post #7 of 23
Would make for an interesting gamer controller.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I used to think this was correct too. I thought Apple was only interested in putting an iPhone out that could take advantage of App store, iTunes, etc., for revenue reasons. But I also remember when they went after the flash based MP3 players with the introduction of the shuffle...years after the iPod MP3 player and cleaned up.

Having said this, I have a sneaky suspicion Apple has cottoned onto the "Subscription Based" business model with the iPhones and could make a pile of money with a Nano phone that just has a camera, iPod and text in it. They would clean up! Especially with 13 yr old girls and Paris Hilton!
...

I agree that it's far from a given that Apple won't make a nano phone.

I'm not sure if this design is really ready for prime time right now though. Switching the input method from the front to the back is weird enough. Making *some* inputs on the front, and *some* on the back as this patent implies is even weirder.

Maybe at a future date when there are many devices on the multi-touch platform and people are more used to touch controls this would make more sense? I mean if this is a low end phone that will be given away for essentially no cost like a flip phone, I can't see it being something this strange and difficult to operate. How would you explain to your mum or your immigrant grandmother that you use the *back* to work the wheelie thingie and the *front* to type? It just seem unnecessarily complex for the market it's aimed at.
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #9 of 23
So, where did it "draw headlines" besides AI? I Binged it and my brower crashed.
post #10 of 23
We are about due for some new iPod Touch's, is back to school season over yet?



edit hot news: Steve Jobs latest photo, sporting a beard. Poor guy, he's looking rather worse for wear.

http://www.tmz.com/2009/07/30/steve-...hoto/#comments
The danger is that we sleepwalk into a world where cabals of corporations control not only the mainstream devices and the software on them, but also the entire ecosystem of online services around...
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The danger is that we sleepwalk into a world where cabals of corporations control not only the mainstream devices and the software on them, but also the entire ecosystem of online services around...
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post #11 of 23
Let's just dust off the old "crank file" shall we?

Seriously, this patent doesn't even look Apple to me. I think the patent is there just so Apple can sue for damages if someone else has the same idea. I think %90 of these patents are designed to protect themselves.
post #12 of 23
it sounds like one of those hexagonal finger widgets filled with colored viscous fluids that i had when i was a kid. you know, when you would squeege the back the colors on the front would change.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post

We are about due for some new iPod Touch's, is back to school season over yet?



edit hot news: Steve Jobs latest photo, sporting a beard. Poor guy, he's looking rather worse for wear.

http://www.tmz.com/2009/07/30/steve-...hoto/#comments

Dude, seriously...do we really need a refit every year, even every other year? Why? It's a freakin' touch screen on one side and chrome on the other. Your options are very limited. Look at the iPod over the lifetime of the product. What has changed that you need to buy one every year, besides capacity and thickness? I would say if you bought a first gen iPod you're probably good until the 5th Gen.

It should be even better now that the Touch and iPhone actually have a dedicated OS. Firmware baby! No need to buy a new device every year. Like a computer. I don't plan on updating my iPhone until they come out with something monumentally better, or it breaks.

It's just too bad you can't swap out the processors and storage.
post #14 of 23
The economies of scale have shown that the current biz model works the best. Especially after Apple has decided against CDMA. One design with different memory, but uniform radio. Resulting gross margins are close to 60%. They could still sell the $99 model with 8 GB of memory. All the apps will be work on these models, including the GPS software that depend on the magnetometer. I think making the model in 2 colors is a waste of money.

Even the rumored Chinese model 90, that is supposed to have WiFi disconnected can have the same hardware, but use software to turn off the WiFi... instead of having separate hardware.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A dated patent filing for an iPhone nano concept has again garnered attention and inspired speculation in numerous media outlets, after the concept re-appeared in new Australian documents.[ View this article at AppleInsider.com ][/c]

Which "media outlets" and which "new Australian documents"?
Not wagging the dog, are we?
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Which "media outlets" and which "new Australian documents"?
Not wagging the dog, are we?

Perhaps, but even Leo Laporte dredged it up again on a recent MacBreak.

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post #17 of 23
Hang on, this article goes on and on about the patent itself, but says almost nothing about the headlines that "garnered [the] attention", which surely must be the more important aspect of this. Otherwise you're just re-hashing something from two years ago for no apparent reason.

So, talk more about the reason you're bringing this patent up again. Why is it worth mentioning today? And for starters, name the Australian documents. Are we talking about Apple documents? A newspaper article? The patent itself is (or should be) the least interesting part of this, and yet it gets 95% of the article.
post #18 of 23
Never going to happen. Apple has already insisted that there is no iPhone Nano. Why do people always want a cheaper iPhone, available in various colours, smaller than the current iPhone? iPhone is meant to be upmarket, expensive, classy and for those who can afford it! Not for those who are on a shoestring. Nokia and other phones serve those purposes.

iPhone Nano is NEVER going to happen IMO.
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Which "media outlets" and which "new Australian documents"?
Not wagging the dog, are we?

Nope. We're not.
post #20 of 23
I'm sure everyone has a story like this, but I've got to share.

In 1998, early 1999. I came up with something like this. I wanted to have a fast text input device for the Palm III ( and later I became obsessed with doing this for the Handspring visor because of the cartridge slot )

Anyway... it was a device that had keys on the back side ( physical keys ) and was going to have a chorded layout.. only 18-20 keys on the back side ( depending on a usability study I was trying to do... how many keys can an average person's fingers reach in this way ) and several buttons and an n-way joypad on the front. You held it like a Sega Game Gear ( in fact my mockup was a Game Gear shell heavily "Dremeled" )

I thought I was going to make millions. hahahaha.

I worked out the whole chorded layout, and around 50 pages of design docs.

Never patented it. I figured it wasn't worth spending the money on unless I had a chance of actually successfully producing the device.


But one thing that Jobs and Co. got extremely right about the iPhone ( and this patent too ) is that fixed buttons is the wrong way to go. it extends the use of the device tremendously. It becomes a project box.... if you can think of it, you can do it.
post #21 of 23
It makes sense that it is only a matter of time before the nano evolves into a miniature iPod touch with a little something extra to make it still worth buying.
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"Picasso had a saying, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we've always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
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post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AeronPrometheus View Post

It makes sense that it is only a matter of time before the nano evolves into a miniature iPod touch with a little something extra to make it still worth buying.

Well not just that, but you have to evolve in the tech space in general.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by huntercr View Post

I'm sure everyone has a story like this, but I've got to share.

In 1998, early 1999. I came up with something like this. I wanted to have a fast text input device for the Palm III ( and later I became obsessed with doing this for the Handspring visor because of the cartridge slot )

Anyway... it was a device that had keys on the back side ( physical keys ) and was going to have a chorded layout.. only 18-20 keys on the back side ( depending on a usability study I was trying to do... how many keys can an average person's fingers reach in this way ) and several buttons and an n-way joypad on the front. You held it like a Sega Game Gear ( in fact my mockup was a Game Gear shell heavily "Dremeled" )

I thought I was going to make millions. hahahaha.

I worked out the whole chorded layout, and around 50 pages of design docs.

Never patented it. I figured it wasn't worth spending the money on unless I had a chance of actually successfully producing the device.


But one thing that Jobs and Co. got extremely right about the iPhone ( and this patent too ) is that fixed buttons is the wrong way to go. it extends the use of the device tremendously. It becomes a project box.... if you can think of it, you can do it.

Wow. Sounds nice.
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