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Proximity sensor on Apple's iPad 2 could bring auto screen lock, unlock

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
New evidence suggests Apple's forthcoming second-generation iPad will include a proximity sensor, which would automatically lock and unlock the touchscreen device when a cover, attached to a case, is placed over or removed from the display.

The mention of a proximity sensor was discovered in the iOS 4.3 beta this week by blogdoiphone.com. The developer build of the forthcoming operating system update includes two new strings entitled "PAD_CASE_LOCK" and "PAD_CASE_LOCK_FOOTER."

The new additions to the software are part of the Settings application on the iPad, which would allow users to enable or disable the feature. It describes placing a cover over the iPad screen to automatically lock the device, rather than pressing the power/lock button on the top right. Users could also unlock the device without

"Automatically lock and unlock your iPad when you close and open the iPad cover," the setting reads.

The current iPad includes an ambient light sensor, but not a proximity sensor. The potential addition of the proximity sensor would allow the screen to automatically turn off, and the device to become locked, much like the iPhone does when the handset is placed against a user's ear during a call.



If implemented, the change could help Apple remove buttons from the iPad, something a recent rumor suggested the company is looking to do. Currently, the iPad must be unlocked by pressing the home button and then activating the device through the "slide to unlock" gesture.

The first beta of iOS 4.3 enabled new multi-touch gestures that further negate the need for the home button, allowing users to quickly switch between applications or return to the home screen by making quick four- or five-finger gestures on the touch display.

The mention of the auto-lock and unlock feature via a proximity sensor would require the use of a case with the iPad to cover its screen. Currently, the iPad does not ship with a case, though Apple sells its own first-party case designed for the iPad, which includes a flap to cover the 9.7-inch display.
post #2 of 41
I don't think Apple is looking to remove the buttons right now: they're just making things easier/faster/convenient. This convention makes a lot of sense.
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post #3 of 41
Is it any coincidence this "feature" appears in AI right after the article of the Playboy announcement?
post #4 of 41
I hope it will still turn the display on and off for those that lock their device.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

I don't think Apple is looking to remove the buttons right now: they're just making things easier/faster/convenient. This convention makes a lot of sense.

There is no way they’ll remove the buttons. Desktop OSes have had alternative ways to do the same task. Often these are faster but they aren’t as intuitive to use as other options. I think this holds for iDevices.
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post #5 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

New evidence suggests Apple's forthcoming second-generation iPad will include a proximity sensor, which would automatically lock and unlock the touchscreen device when a cover, attached to a case, is placed over or removed from the display. ...

On the face of it, this sounds completely ridiculous.

Doing this would completely circumvent the "security" of the swipe to open feature. The swipe to open "feature" is something that people have been asking for the ability to remove since the first day of the first iPhone. Apple has steadfastly resisted all efforts and protestations to do so on the basis of "security." This is also the number one thing standing in the way of having an integrated home screen which has also been asked for since day one.

I just don't see Apple screwing people over about this for four solid years and then just casually introducing a feature that completely goes around it.
post #6 of 41
I agree they aren't going to remove any existing buttons any time soon.

Also, how would this work if your hand/finger covers the proximity sensor? Would that immediately lock your iPad? I love the idea that closing my iPad case would lock the device for me. I'm just not sure how they could do it with a proximity sensor without your hand/finger also setting it off while you're using it.
post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

On the face of it, this sounds completely ridiculous.

Doing this would completely circumvent the "security" of the swipe to open feature. The swipe to open "feature" is something that people have been asking for the ability to remove since the first day of the first iPhone. Apple has steadfastly resisted all efforts and protestations to do so on the basis of "security." This is also the number one thing standing in the way of having an integrated home screen which has also been asked for since day one.

I just don't see Apple screwing people over about this for four solid years and then just casually introducing a feature that completely goes around it.

I think you are mistaking swipe to unlock for the passcode lock. You could still have a passcode. The point of swipe to unlock is to avoid calling people or messing up your data because the device is receiving random touches from an accidental unlock. Makes a lot of sense for Apple to do this.

How is Apple screwing anyone over? Why don't you go back in time and change that post.
post #8 of 41
The Home button isn't going anywhere.
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post #9 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vatdoro View Post

I agree they aren't going to remove any existing buttons any time soon.

Also, how would this work if your hand/finger covers the proximity sensor? Would that immediately lock your iPad? I love the idea that closing my iPad case would lock the device for me. I'm just not sure how they could do it with a proximity sensor without your hand/finger also setting it off while you're using it.

One sensor per corner?
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

On the face of it, this sounds completely ridiculous.

Doing this would completely circumvent the "security" of the swipe to open feature. The swipe to open "feature" is something that people have been asking for the ability to remove since the first day of the first iPhone. Apple has steadfastly resisted all efforts and protestations to do so on the basis of "security." This is also the number one thing standing in the way of having an integrated home screen which has also been asked for since day one.

I just don't see Apple screwing people over about this for four solid years and then just casually introducing a feature that completely goes around it.

I didn't see anything that about the "slide to unlock" gesture being removed.
post #11 of 41
Apple isn't removing the button, people need to stop spreading that ridiculousness. Every case design seen so far has the notch for the home screen button. It's just a bunch of idiots trying to make up news & increase hits on their blogs. Move along, nothing to see here.
post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vatdoro View Post

I agree they aren't going to remove any existing buttons any time soon.

Also, how would this work if your hand/finger covers the proximity sensor? Would that immediately lock your iPad? I love the idea that closing my iPad case would lock the device for me. I'm just not sure how they could do it with a proximity sensor without your hand/finger also setting it off while you're using it.

The iPhone has multiple sensors, I suspect iPad will too. I'm sure it will be a feature you can turn off if you find it annoying or useless.

If they introduced a fingerprint reader now that would be cool!
post #13 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

I didn't see anything that about the "slide to unlock" gesture being removed.

And this welcome addition is only effective if you have a lid' on your iPad case. I doubt that pocketable iDevices will get this feature.
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post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

Apple isn't removing the button, people need to stop spreading that ridiculousness. Every case design seen so far has the notch for the home screen button. It's just a bunch of idiots trying to make up news & increase hits on their blogs. Move along, nothing to see here.

"A bunch of idiots I agree with, but I think their reasoning is based on their idiocy, not because they are trying to increase page hits by spreading something they dont believe in. If that were the case they wouldnt be idiots, just annoying people trying to make a living.

For those that dont know, the rumour came about from iOS 4.3b1 having some clever four and five-finger gestures which make the iPad much easier to use by allowing you to complete tasks faster by not seeking out the Home Button. You get to stay on the display and do a four finger swipes left and right to quickly go back to previous apps, and a five-finger pinch to get to the Home Screen. Just short cuts, but not something new users would intuitively think to do.
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post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Is it any coincidence this "feature" appears in AI right after the article of the Playboy announcement?

well I think the old instant Excel page works just as well
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post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

If implemented, the change could help Apple remove buttons from the iPad, something a recent rumor suggested the company is looking to do. Currently, the iPad must be unlocked by pressing the home button and then activating the device through the "slide to unlock" gesture.

That can already be accomplished with the power button instead of the the home button. Stop trying to remove the home button. It's not happening and there is no reason to do so.
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post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

On the face of it, this sounds completely ridiculous.

Doing this would completely circumvent the "security" of the swipe to open feature. The swipe to open "feature" is something that people have been asking for the ability to remove since the first day of the first iPhone. Apple has steadfastly resisted all efforts and protestations to do so on the basis of "security." This is also the number one thing standing in the way of having an integrated home screen which has also been asked for since day one.

I just don't see Apple screwing people over about this for four solid years and then just casually introducing a feature that completely goes around it.

How it will work:


Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Leave it closed for X # of minutes.

Open the case the screen turns on (slide to unlock)
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

How it will work:
image: http://www.techerator.com/wp-content...e-autolock.jpg

Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Leave it closed for X # of minutes.

Open the case the screen turns on (slide to unlock)

Sounds reasonable to me. I cant see how it could work any other way.
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post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vatdoro View Post

I agree they aren't going to remove any existing buttons any time soon.

Also, how would this work if your hand/finger covers the proximity sensor? Would that immediately lock your iPad? I love the idea that closing my iPad case would lock the device for me. I'm just not sure how they could do it with a proximity sensor without your hand/finger also setting it off while you're using it.

Apple has engineers.
post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

Apple has engineers.

We only have two hands, at most. Im thinking one sensor next to the camera and one sensor on an adjacent side, not the opposite side, so that when holding it with two hands on either opposite sides a sensor should still be un-obstuctued.
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post #21 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

How it will work:


Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Open the case the screen turns on (no unlock)
Close the case the screen turns off.
Leave it closed for X # of minutes.

Open the case the screen turns on (slide to unlock)

This still seems a bit ridiculous to me. Do people seriously have trouble finding one of the two buttons on the thing that turn the screen on and off? and if you still have to swipe it, then I don't see how this actually confers any kind of advantage on the user.

Also, one possible fly in the ointment is that they have to have a sensor either around the edge or in the bezel to control this, so someone putting their finger in the wrong place is going to turn off the screen all the time.

I presume they have a preference to turn this on and off, but then *that's* a bit wacky too since Apple usually goes out of their way not to give users preferences like that. The whole thing sounds really un-Apple-like to me.
post #22 of 41
I think it's pretty obvious the the future of user interface and any experience is button-less. It's just a matter of when. I hope apple patents all these new ways of interactions.
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post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This still seems a bit ridiculous to me. Do people seriously have trouble finding one of the two buttons on the thing that turn the screen on and off? and if you still have to swipe it, then I don't see how this actually confers any kind of advantage on the user.

Also, one possible fly in the ointment is that they have to have a sensor either around the edge or in the bezel to control this, so someone putting their finger in the wrong place is going to turn off the screen all the time.

I presume they have a preference to turn this on and off, but then *that's* a bit wacky too since Apple usually goes out of their way not to give users preferences like that. The whole thing sounds really un-Apple-like to me.

Thats a strawman argument. "Do we really need to have keyboard shortcuts when there are menu items that do the same thing. Is it really that much of an inconvenience to use the mouse to select cut/copy/paste from the Edit menu? There are an infinite number of examples where technology just gets slightly more convenient even though the method that preceded it wasnt deemed inconvenient of unwieldy.

The new swipe features for iOS beta have made this device much more usable for me. I actually enjoy lounging with it now. Being able to open and close my iPad case and go back to a book or webpage or whatever without hitting a button will just increase that enjoyment a little more.
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post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

On the face of it, this sounds completely ridiculous.

Doing this would completely circumvent the "security" of the swipe to open feature. The swipe to open "feature" is something that people have been asking for the ability to remove since the first day of the first iPhone. Apple has steadfastly resisted all efforts and protestations to do so on the basis of "security." This is also the number one thing standing in the way of having an integrated home screen which has also been asked for since day one.

I just don't see Apple screwing people over about this for four solid years and then just casually introducing a feature that completely goes around it.

Actually buddy, the swipe to open feature wasn't on the original iPhone. When pressing the unlock button it would return to the homescreen immediately. Later in some new iOS version (2.0, 3.0?) they introduced the "slide to unlock" screen. Although... i know i've seen the "slide to unlock" screen on iOS 1. I had an iPod touch, maybe only the iPod didn't use the slide?
post #25 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by a.punk View Post

Actually buddy, the swipe to open feature wasn't on the original iPhone. When pressing the unlock button it would return to the homescreen immediately. Later in some new iOS version (2.0, 3.0?) they introduced the "slide to unlock" screen. Although... i know i've seen the "slide to unlock" screen on iOS 1. I had an iPod touch, maybe only the iPod didn't use the slide?

¿Que? Your 1st and 3rd sentence contradict themselves. They used slide to unlock and slide to power off since v1.0.
http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/30/h...e-walkthrough/
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post #26 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This still seems a bit ridiculous to me. Do people seriously have trouble finding one of the two buttons on the thing that turn the screen on and off? and if you still have to swipe it, then I don't see how this actually confers any kind of advantage on the user.

It's no different from when you open your MacBook Pro and it turns right on.
Close the lid and it turns right off.
Very convenient.
Better power management.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Also, one possible fly in the ointment is that they have to have a sensor either around the edge or in the bezel to control this, so someone putting their finger in the wrong place is going to turn off the screen all the time.

The same type of proximity sensors have existed in the iPhone since 2007.
Ever turn the screen off accidentally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I presume they have a preference to turn this on and off, but then *that's* a bit wacky too since Apple usually goes out of their way not to give users preferences like that. The whole thing sounds really un-Apple-like to me.

Of course it sounds very "un-Apple-like" because you clearly don't understand the concept.
Simplicity, convenience and better power management.
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by a.punk View Post

Actually buddy, the swipe to open feature wasn't on the original iPhone. When pressing the unlock button it would return to the homescreen immediately. Later in some new iOS version (2.0, 3.0?) they introduced the "slide to unlock" screen. Although... i know i've seen the "slide to unlock" screen on iOS 1. I had an iPod touch, maybe only the iPod didn't use the slide?

Slide to unlock was the first feature Steve Jobs showed on iPhone 1.0 and the audience was floored.
Its been there since day zero.
post #28 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by a.punk View Post

Actually buddy, the swipe to open feature wasn't on the original iPhone. When pressing the unlock button it would return to the homescreen immediately. Later in some new iOS version (2.0, 3.0?) they introduced the "slide to unlock" screen. Although... i know i've seen the "slide to unlock" screen on iOS 1. I had an iPod touch, maybe only the iPod didn't use the slide?

"Slide to Unlock" has been in place since 2007, i.e. v1.0 on both the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
post #29 of 41
I would have thought this feature would be implemented similar to how a blackberry device works when you put the device in it's holster - I believe this is achieved via some form of magnet in the holster itself, not via proximity sensors on the blackberry. My blackberry screen turns off and locks automatically as I am inserting it in the holster, and the screen turns on when I remove it from the holster.

Of course, this means that only apple-designed/approved cases would be able to achieve this initially.
post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

The same type of proximity sensors have existed in the iPhone since 2007. Ever turn the screen off?

AFAIK the sensor is only active in the iPhone when a phone call is started. The functionality in the iPad would be totally different (it would be active all the time).

Since I occationally hit the home button without meaning to, you can be sure as heck that I'm going to turn the screen off as well!
post #31 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

And this welcome addition is only effective if you have a ‘lid' on your iPad case. I doubt that pocketable iDevices will get this feature.

Would it be possible to just wave your hand over them to basically 'wake' them up?

As to why? remove the button at all.

Answer: One less mechanical item that has to be fixed.
post #32 of 41
They have had this feature in blackberrys as long as i can remember. A small magnet embedded in the case triggers the lock. You can customize it a ton of ways, like changing the ringer volume automatically when in its case.

There is nothing to see here. Its a nice addition, but nothing to write a story about.
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

On the face of it, this sounds completely ridiculous.

Doing this would completely circumvent the "security" of the swipe to open feature. The swipe to open "feature" is something that people have been asking for the ability to remove since the first day of the first iPhone. Apple has steadfastly resisted all efforts and protestations to do so on the basis of "security." This is also the number one thing standing in the way of having an integrated home screen which has also been asked for since day one.

I just don't see Apple screwing people over about this for four solid years and then just casually introducing a feature that completely goes around it.

The iPad is not the iPhone. Ever since getting the iPad I found the swipe to open unnecessary. Swipe to open (when not coupled with an unlock code) is not a security feature, it is a feature that prevents you from accidentally activating apps if you the power or home button gets inadvertently pressed. That never happens to my iPad because it's always in the Apple case so its really just a pain. I now run a jailbreak tool that disables the swipe to unlock, so as soon as I hit the home or power button the iPad goes to the home screen or the app that was left open. Pressing the power and then having to swipe to open slows things down just enough to make it a nuisance. As for the iPhone, I have pocket dialed enough that I would never removed it.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

This still seems a bit ridiculous to me. Do people seriously have trouble finding one of the two buttons on the thing that turn the screen on and off? and if you still have to swipe it, then I don't see how this actually confers any kind of advantage on the user.

Also, one possible fly in the ointment is that they have to have a sensor either around the edge or in the bezel to control this, so someone putting their finger in the wrong place is going to turn off the screen all the time.

I presume they have a preference to turn this on and off, but then *that's* a bit wacky too since Apple usually goes out of their way not to give users preferences like that. The whole thing sounds really un-Apple-like to me.

good point...perhaps there will be 2 or 3 sensors on different sides so unless you are a Hindu god with 6 hands, you won't trigger it accidentally.
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

That can already be accomplished with the power button instead of the the home button. Stop trying to remove the home button. It's not happening and there is no reason to do so.

Actually there is a very good reason to remove the home button. Apple recently was granted a patent for a virtual/interactive boarder. So for example instead of the black boarder that goes around the current iPad you would have a boarder that appears and disappears as needed i.e for your thumbs. The home button gets in the way of that....also if they remove the home button they will be able to increase the screen even more without changing the dimensions of the panel. They seem to be interested in increasing the size in this way...if rumors of the iPad 2 panel are to be believed (the boarder is said to be slightly thinner on the iPad 2). So based on the patent as well as for the ability to increase viewable display I say there is a very good reason to remove the home button. Some have pointed out that the home button is needed when doing a reboot but I would think that it wouldn't be very hard for Apple to configure the iPad so that you could for example hold power + volume instead of power + home....or something like that. Whats more, personally I don't use home very much I think its functionality as far as exiting apps or activating the app drawer is better served by a touch gesture when you consider what you stand to gain from getting rid of it.
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by clexman View Post

They have had this feature in blackberrys as long as i can remember. A small magnet embedded in the case triggers the lock. You can customize it a ton of ways, like changing the ringer volume automatically when in its case.

There is nothing to see here. Its a nice addition, but nothing to write a story about.

But doesn't comparing a magnet lock to a proximity sensor lock seem like comparing a steam engine to an electric motor? Proximity sensors like flywheels are sexy. If apple was making these devices in the 80s I could imagine them with a magnetic lock.
post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onhka View Post

Would it be possible to just wave your hand over them to basically 'wake' them up?

As to why? remove the button at all.

Answer: One less mechanical item that has to be fixed.

thats a good point, the buttons parts do add complication to the manufacturing process, take up valuable space and is just another thing to break or from which moisture can be introduced to the pcb. Also there is a patten that suggest apple plans to virtualize the black boarder.
post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by dish View Post

The iPad is not the iPhone. Ever since getting the iPad I found the swipe to open unnecessary. Swipe to open (when not coupled with an unlock code) is not a security feature, it is a feature that prevents you from accidentally activating apps if you the power or home button gets inadvertently pressed. That never happens to my iPad because it's always in the Apple case so its really just a pain. I now run a jailbreak tool that disables the swipe to unlock, so as soon as I hit the home or power button the iPad goes to the home screen or the app that was left open. Pressing the power and then having to swipe to open slows things down just enough to make it a nuisance. As for the iPhone, I have pocket dialed enough that I would never removed it.

A little bit over obsessive about nothing.
I like the Slide-to-Unlock mechanism because the casing for my iPad only covers the back and sides, leaving the face to the open, so you can speak for yourself when you say it's useless. And honestly, it takes less than 2 seconds to push the Home or Lock button and slide your finger twice inches, hardly a nuisance.
Besides, you seem to have everything taken care of with the jailbreak, nbd.
post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by dish View Post

But doesn't comparing a magnet lock to a proximity sensor lock seem like comparing a steam engine to an electric motor? Proximity sensors like flywheels are sexy. If apple was making these devices in the 80s I could imagine them with a magnetic lock.

No.

The magnetometer in the iPad requires much less power than the proximity sensor and can't be accidentally triggered no matter how you hold it. All iPad models have a magnetometer.

The proximity sensor has an infrared beam and a small camera which would need to be powered all the time while it were not in use. Not going to happen.
post #40 of 41
This would also be great if you secretly nuzzle your iPad with your face like an affection-starved alley cat. People do that a lot, and it can trigger unwanted touch signals.
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