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Apple investigating 'no-look' gestures for iPod nano

post #1 of 19
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A recently published patent has revealed that Apple is looking into multi-touch gestures that can be performed without looking at a device, which would address concerns about the multi-touch redesign of the sixth-generation iPod nano.

When Apple first announced the addition of multi-touch to the iPod nano, some pundits were skeptical about the elimination of the click wheel and physical buttons for playback control.

Of course, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs was confident that users would love the new control scheme. "This is the biggest reinvention of the iPod nano since its debut in 2005, and we think users are going to love it," Jobs said in a press release announcing the update. "Replacing the click wheel with our Multi-Touch interface has enabled us to shrink the iPod nano into an amazingly small design that is instantly wearable with its built-in clip."

Though initial reviews of the sixth-generation iPod nano were generally positive, some reviewers criticized the need to look at the iPod nano's display to control playback.

A newly revealed patent application shows that Apple has already looked into the issue and could be planning the addition of 'no-look' touch gestures to the iPod nano and other multi-touch devices. The application describes several multi-touch gestures that could be used to control a device without looking at the screen, or, more radically, to control a device without a screen.

Specific gestures mentioned in the filing include a single tap to play or pause, a double tap to advance to the next item and a triple tap to return to the previous item. To fast forward, users would double tap and then hold, and to rewind, users would triple tap and hold. Volume would be controlled through clockwise and counter-clockwise circular motions.



While the patent application does not specifically reference the iPod nano, several figures accompanying the application depict the form factor and interface of the current-generation iPod nano. However, the images lack the hardware volume buttons of the latest iPod nano.



The application was filed on Jun. 25, 2009, over a year before the release of the multi-touch iPod nano, and published on Dec. 30, 2010. Duncan Kerr and Nick King are listed as the inventors.

A teardown of the sixth-generation iPod nano, which comes in several different colors and starts at $149, estimated the device's bill of materials at $43.

The latest nano was recently hacked, though the hacker was only able to access the device's plist files and remove an application, creating a blank space on the home screen.
post #2 of 19
Tapping is considered a no-look gesture? How about two-finger swipes in different directions? Circle motion for volume or track select regardless of what is on the screen?
post #3 of 19
Wait a minute. Isn't the whole control scheme of the remote headphones? And now they think this deserves a patent because it is tapping on the screen and not a typical button?

And you thought the people wanting money for double clicking on a screen were bad.
post #4 of 19
Is it a good idea to repeat the BOM "estimate"? That probably only serves to legitimize the figure and misconceptions around it.

Back when the click wheel was the in thing, it could be very easily controlled, volume, play, pause, skip, FF, RW, without looking at it, so I guess it's a leap forward to 2003 functionality in this respect.
post #5 of 19
This is what you give up when you go with all touch vs. tactile buttons. Apple may yet figure out a better blend of the two, but for now it's a bit of a kluge.

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post #6 of 19
Me thinks the current Nano is a dud. Everytime I'm in the Apple Store or a BestBuy, there is absolutely no one looking at the Nano (or Shuffle for that matter)

Frankly, I think the problem with the Nano is it's simply too difficult to use brought on by it's new smaller form factor. It's too damn small! (you have to wonder at Jobs' comment about chiseling your finger tips to use a 7" tablet)

Why not just keep a narrow candy bar shape along with a touch screen display.
Usability would be greatly improved as one can hold it with one hand and making the necessary gestures with the thumb.
post #7 of 19
We need iOS multitouch display along with a clickwheel. That is keep the clickwheel on the back and leave the front as a touch panel. Also bring back the rectangular shape with a larger rectangular screen.
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Specific gestures mentioned in the filing include a single tap to play or pause, a double tap to advance to the next item and a triple tap to return to the previous item. To fast forward, users would double tap and then hold, and to rewind, users would triple tap and hold...

Morse code?
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

We need iOS multitouch display along with a clickwheel. That is keep the clickwheel on the back and leave the front as a touch panel. Also bring back the rectangular shape with a larger rectangular screen.

I thought I was the only one thinking this! I use mine to control the music in my car and I can do it without looking. There's no way I'm getting rid of my nano which is the gen before the current one... When I watched the Sept. keynote I realized how valuable my current iPod was!
post #10 of 19
Open note to Steve Jobs- buttons/knobs/switches are not evil, no really they aren't. A few on devices/gadgets are ok, no really, they are.
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.
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post #11 of 19
Dear Steve,

This is needed more on the iPhone to keep people from smashing into other cars.

Thanks.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Dear Steve,

This is needed more on the iPhone to keep people from smashing into other cars.

Thanks.

And to stop people getting into a fight on plane.
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post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Morse code?

LMAO, seriously.
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Same Apple. Same Mac. Different Take. Different Place. http://Applemacness.com
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post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post

Open note to Steve Jobs- buttons/knobs/switches are not evil, no really they aren't. A few on devices/gadgets are ok, no really, they are.

Visible air vents, seems for replaceable batteries, and especially confusing buttons, are "evil"

Sure looks nice tho
post #15 of 19
As it stands, I can see no good reason at all to purchase the latest Nano. One of my major uses for my wifes 3G and my 4G Nano's is the ability to watch video podcasts, and even play movies on a hotel TV.

I use an iPad, so have little use for the more expensive (quality camera and GPS lacking) iPod Touch, which means the Nano is my ideal day-to-day tool. And I have absolutely no use for an iPhone because I do not even use all the minutes on my $100/yr Tracfone card. I have a phone at home, one in my office, and I do not want people constantly bugging my while I'm between those two places or out skiing.

So, Apple, please please bring back video to the Nano and give me a form factor that supports video.
post #16 of 19
I'm still missing the previous generation Nano with a bigger screen, NO-LOOK clickwheel, and a camera. These little microscopic square things are just absurd.
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post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

Me thinks the current Nano is a dud. Everytime I'm in the Apple Store or a BestBuy, there is absolutely no one looking at the Nano (or Shuffle for that matter)

Frankly, I think the problem with the Nano is it's simply too difficult to use brought on by it's new smaller form factor. It's too damn small! (you have to wonder at Jobs' comment about chiseling your finger tips to use a 7" tablet)

Why not just keep a narrow candy bar shape along with a touch screen display.
Usability would be greatly improved as one can hold it with one hand and making the necessary gestures with the thumb.

Frankly, I think Steve would rather push buyers toward the iPod touch. The smaller iPods are low margin and generate no additional revenue on the Apps/Books/Videos side of the iTunes Store. They only keep them to try to retain the low-end customer in hopes of having them graduate to the higher end products.

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post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Frankly, I think Steve would rather push buyers toward the iPod touch. The smaller iPods are low margin and generate no additional revenue on the Apps/Books/Videos side of the iTunes Store. They only keep them to try to retain the low-end customer in hopes of having them graduate to the higher end products.

How do you know the small iPods are low margin?
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A recently published patent has revealed that Apple is looking into multi-touch gestures that can be performed without looking at a device, which would address concerns about the multi-touch redesign of the sixth-generation iPod nano.

It is the natural progression of things:



Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The application describes several multi-touch gestures that could be used to control a device without looking at the screen, or, more radically, to control a device without a screen.

This is the kind of thing that would also work well on a remote control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Specific gestures mentioned in the filing include a single tap to play or pause, a double tap to advance to the next item and a triple tap to return to the previous item. To fast forward, users would double tap and then hold, and to rewind, users would triple tap and hold. Volume would be controlled through clockwise and counter-clockwise circular motions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noe3kR8KqJc

"For a comma, I hold it down for 4 seconds, release it for 2 and then rat-a-tat-tat. This and all the other combinations are explained in the manual."

I think the gestures need to be a bit more intuitive than those descriptions. Like swipe left to right can be fast-forward, not double-tap hold. The device orientation may confuse things but they can put a reference marker on the device like a notch of some sort. As long as touching the notch doesn't cause some failure in the device's main function of course.
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