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Apple's next Magic Mouse could include a multi-touch display

post #1 of 64
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Apple has shown interest in adding a display to its multi-touch Magic Mouse, adding interactivity and functionality to the wireless mouse for its Mac line of computers.

The new Magic Mouse was revealed this week in a patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled "Computer Input Device Including a Display Device." Discovered by AppleInsider, it shows a mouse with a display on top that would be able to display information or allow contextual input options.

Apple's filing notes that the usability of a computer might become easier through input devices that are "more communicative" to the user. It also notes that the addition of a screen could make a device more "aesthetically pleasing," by allowing users to change the look of it by customizing what is displayed on the screen.

The proposed invention would provide "observable data" to a user through the input device itself. The image could even be displayed on the back of a curved surface, like a mouse, by projecting the image onto an outer surface of "collimated glass."

The display on the mouse would change according to what the user may be doing on their Mac. As an example, the application describes displaying a number of icons for quickly selectable options when a user is running Apple's Pages word processing application. Switching over to the spreadsheet software Numbers would reconfigure the buttons on the screen to allow for commands in that respective application.



In another example, the mouse displays a virtual depiction of a traditional number pad, commonly found on a full-size keyboard. With this, users could quickly input numbers right from their mouse using its touch-sensitive back panel.

The application notes that the dynamic touch-display input method could be employed on other devices like a keyboard, or even a mobile device like an iPhone or iPod touch.

In one illustration, an iPhone is shown with the top third of its screen occupied by the handset's traditional applications like SMS, Calendar and Photos. But the bottom two-third of the display are occupied by a trackpad-like area, and below that is a virtual clickable surface for using a cursor to select objects on a traditional computer. The iPhone sketch also lacks a home button on the hardware.



The patent application revealed this week is credited to Gordie Freeman, Jacob Farkas, and Toby Charles Wood Patterson. Apple first filed for the proposed invention in July of 2009.

Apple introduced its multi-touch Magic Mouse -- without a display on it, of course -- in 2009. The wireless mouse lacks any physical buttons, but brings multi-touch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling, to the pointer. Previously, those types of gestures were only capable on an iPhone, or a multi-touch trackpad on a MacBook.

The effort to add multi-touch input to Apple's entire line of products continued in July 2010, when the Magic Trackpad was released. The flat trackpad surface offers input similar to a MacBook on a desktop Mac.

As for controlling a device with an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, Apple already allows that with its own free Remote application. That software, available on the App Store, allows iOS users to control their Apple TV wirelessly from anywhere in their home.
post #2 of 64
So how long before a non Apple device is controlled by something like this made by Apple?
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post #3 of 64
Too much clutter for a mouse- sounds too Kensingtonish.
However I could see this for the magic trackpad- makes perfect sense.
Mobile mouse app works fine for me right for now.
post #4 of 64
Sounds great, but I'll have to change my batteries every week instead of every month.
post #5 of 64
This has been my main futuristic request for several years now for notebooks, where it makes a lot more sense. This is inevitable at some point.
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post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This has been my main futuristic request for several years now for notebooks, where it makes a lot more sense. This is inevitable at some point.

The mouse mat itself could become the perfect input device for a MacBook ...
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post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

Sounds great, but I'll have to change my batteries every week instead of every month.

Technologies from Apple advance hand in hand thankfully. I am sure the life will be even longer not shorter as we go forward. That's just me, Apple's glass is always half full
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post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Apple's glass is always half full

I think you mean to say "Apple's glass is always overflowing." (With profits that is.)
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post #9 of 64
So I can get this as a "firmware fix" on my Magic Mouse?
post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stourque View Post

Sounds great, but I'll have to change my batteries every week instead of every month.

You never know ... by the time something like this would be bound to come out they might find a way to incorporate wireless power.
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLiver View Post

Too much clutter for a mouse- sounds too Kensingtonish.
However I could see this for the magic trackpad- makes perfect sense.
Mobile mouse app works fine for me right for now.

Patents rarely show actual usage, they are usually designed to cover all possible uses so they have room to dream. Apple wouldn't patent any actual finalized design they intended to use, would give competition to much time to release comparable products.

These patent applications always are a little goofy in their application, but the final products are always much cooler & far more practical. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if they are intentionally overdone, probably convinces some of their competition to implement similar ideas just as Apple shows them in the patents. Would serve them right for trying to rip off Apple's genius.
post #12 of 64
two words: magic trackpad. BOOM!
post #13 of 64
I see in the notes that they refer to using iPhone as a controller, but I am concluding that the iPhone is acting a remote. However, could not the camera be used in place of the laser/optics on a regular mouse, so if the iPhone or iPod Touch (4G) was placed on a protective mat, it could also act as a mouse itself, with the touch screen providing the proposed contextual short cuts?
post #14 of 64
I think you would have to take focus from the monitor to the mouse (or trackpat) or it would be too easy to make a mistake. I find that I have to keep my hand away from the MTP as a very light touch will click on something I don't want to access. The MM would be even more susceptible to hitting the wrong button.
Maybe I'm too cautious, but I wouldn't want this on my input devices.
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post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

I see in the notes that they refer to using iPhone as a controller, but I am concluding that the iPhone is acting a remote. However, could not the camera be used in place of the laser/optics on a regular mouse, so if the iPhone or iPod Touch (4G) was placed on a protective mat, it could also act as a mouse itself, with the touch screen providing the proposed contextual short cuts?

Next time you have an idea like this, get in touch with me before you make it public. We'll go see a lawyer together, just you and me.
post #16 of 64
If Apple made a wifi mouse with two buttons and a scroll-wheel, it would be the best mouse they have ever made.

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post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's filing notes that the usability of a computer might become easier through input devices that are "more communicative" to the user. It also notes that the addition of a screen could make a device more "aesthetically pleasing," by allowing users to change the look of it by customizing what is displayed on the screen.

One day physical input devices such as keyboards and mice will look and feel archaic.
post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLiver View Post

Too much clutter for a mouse- sounds too Kensingtonish.
However I could see this for the magic trackpad- makes perfect sense.
Mobile mouse app works fine for me right for now.

Agreed, I think the mouse was included to cover all bases but is likely at this point.

The trackpad or keyboard is very possible. And potentially quite useful. I would love a keyboard that would change when I open Final Cut to show me the shortcut keys. I often forget the ones I don't use every day and have to look them up

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post #19 of 64
How do you prevent the mouse from sliding around on the surface as you are trying to use the touch screen? some sort of dock or magnetic lock to hold it in place or something?

I have a couple of 10 key input pads and they are very light to the point of almost unusable for rapidly entering numbers as they do not stay put.

adding that sort of thing to the Magic TrackPad would be good.

Isn't there already an App to make your iPhone or iPod Touch into a computer remote? isn't that a very similar idea?

How about just making a doc that holds the iOS device and activates the MagicMousePad app and charges and syncs while you are at it? of course then you would still need something in cases where your iOS device is not plugged in.
post #20 of 64
The odds of Apple offing something of such Microsoftian complexity seem slim indeed.

Might make some sense for the Mac version of AutoCad, however...
post #21 of 64
Why the hell won't Apple just build a normal freaking mouse?
post #22 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

Why the hell won't Apple just build a normal freaking mouse?

Why don't you just get one from the multitude of other mice manufacturers - Apple have identified a niche and it must be doing ok for them.
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post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iLiver View Post

Too much clutter for a mouse- sounds too Kensingtonish.
However I could see this for the magic trackpad- makes perfect sense.
Mobile mouse app works fine for me right for now.

Totally.... the magic mouse has too much going on already. I ditched mine as soon as the magic trackpad came out. You really need more space for multitouch than what's possible on the back of a mouse.
post #24 of 64
It fits. Apple enjoys releasing mice that do nearly everything except the the one thing they are supposed to do fit your hand and make it easy to control a cursor on the screen
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

One day physical input devices such as keyboards and mice will look and feel archaic.

Maybe for mice. But keyboards (in some form) will always exist. Language access is essential for any type of computing device. And I don't think voice recognition is going to be taking over any time soon.
post #26 of 64
Apple is going backwards in mouse usability. My three year old knows how to use a one button mouse, and a mouse with two physical buttons. I can tell him to click the left or right button.

I can't tell him to click the right button when there are no buttons.
post #27 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

Maybe for mice. But keyboards (in some form) will always exist. Language access is essential for any type of computing device. And I don't think voice recognition is going to be taking over any time soon.

Ah yes... my previous comment was phrased wrong. I don't think physical input devices will disappear but I think physical 'buttons' will. Some years from now the keyboard will be a 'touch' extension of the monitor, is what I meant. As for voice input... I have tried it but find it weird and difficult. It might be something one needs to become used to in order to find 'natural', but I believe it will be too disruptive in a communal working space to ever catch on. But who knows.
post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by enjourni View Post

... I don't think voice recognition is going to be taking over any time soon.

Indeed.

Voice recognition is one of the longest running boondoggles in tech. It's inherently impossible for a computer to "recognise" what you are saying, but we all pretend like it's going to happen someday anyway.

The reason is that the computer would have to be conscious to perform that task and you guessed it ... Artificial Intelligence, or the idea that a computer will someday "think" is a an even longer running boondoggle.

Voice recognition will always be limited to the user shouting phrases and keywords at the computer and will never get to 100% accuracy. It's just not possible right now, and even if it becomes possible someday, that day likely won't be for many decades at the very least.
post #29 of 64
Is there a speed advantage to taking your eyes off the screen to look down at your touch-sensitive mouse, find a virtual button, hitting it, then bringing your eyes back up to the screen? ...I mean, over simply moving your mouse to click an on-screen button, that is...

Gestures, I'm on board with, but this is a clear step backwards.

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post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Ah yes... my previous comment was phrased wrong. I don't think physical input devices will disappear but I think physical 'buttons' will. Some years from now the keyboard will be a 'touch' extension of the monitor, is what I meant. As for voice input... I have tried it but find it weird and difficult. It might be something one needs to become used to in order to find 'natural', but I believe it will be too disruptive in a communal working space to ever catch on. But who knows.

This might be a good time to review how this works under the Star Trek model of computing. Yes, personal computers do exist, in people's homes, for example, but let's focus on how this works aboard the Enterprise-D. Are there mice? No. Are there keyboards with keys on them? No. Do they primarily use touch screens? No. Does everyone talk to the computer most of the time? No. (Unless they need enable Self-Destruct, when it doesn't really matter that it's disruptive because everyone is fighting for a spot in the escape pods anyway.)

The basic model is the virtual keyboard. This is a touch sensitive control panel that adapts to function, separate from the screen. Difficult to say whether they have haptic feedback, but likely, since they often manipulate it without looking at it. This is where we are headed, the only question is how long it will take us to get there.

I think we are still several years away from this and the thing that's holding it back is the development of haptic feedback interfaces. So, we probably won't be there entirely in 5 years, but maybe in 10. In the meantime, we can enjoy our tricorders and tablets.
post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

This might be a good time to review how this works under the Star Trek model of computing. Yes, personal computers do exist, in people's homes, for example, but let's focus on how this works aboard the Enterprise-D. Are there mice? No. Are there keyboards with keys on them? No. Do they primarily use touch screens? No. Does everyone talk to the computer most of the time? No. (Unless they need enable Self-Destruct, when it doesn't really matter that it's disruptive because everyone is fighting for a spot in the escape pods anyway.)

The basic model is the virtual keyboard. This is a touch sensitive control panel that adapts to function, separate from the screen. Difficult to say whether they have haptic feedback, but likely, since they often manipulate it without looking at it. This is where we are headed, the only question is how long it will take us to get there.

I think we are still several years away from this and the thing that's holding it back is the development of haptic feedback interfaces. So, we probably won't be there entirely in 5 years, but maybe in 10. In the meantime, we can enjoy our tricorders and tablets.

Ha ha... the 'Star Trek model'. Love it. To be fully 'there' I guess 10 years is the ball park but I am not sure haptic feedback is the barrier. I think such feedback may be a little over rated and is more cultural than anything. The barrier is probably cost more than anything. But this is changing and I can imagine a Magic TrackPad II with a software context driven touch display surface as a fantastic input device. Then a full size keyboard (no longer called a keyboard, of course). Being able to operate Photoshop, or FCP or similar using two hands on a dedicated touch surface, with gesture invoked commands will be truly revolutionary.
post #32 of 64
I prefer a wired mouse. The response and accuracy is much better than any wireless mouse I have used. I get inexplicable lost connection messages periodically with Apple Magic mouse. I also find trying to invoke gestures really frustrating. If the mouse moves unexpectedly the gesture don't work. I really don't need a mouse that takes two hands to operate.

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post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

The basic model is the virtual keyboard. This is a touch sensitive control panel that adapts to function, separate from the screen. Difficult to say whether they have haptic feedback, but likely, since they often manipulate it without looking at it. This is where we are headed, the only question is how long it will take us to get there.

I think we are still several years away from this and the thing that's holding it back is the development of haptic feedback interfaces. So, we probably won't be there entirely in 5 years, but maybe in 10. In the meantime, we can enjoy our tricorders and tablets.

You know all those engineering drawings that they flash on the screen in those shows - those won't be drawn with a virtual keyboard even in star date 2050. The human hand will still need the equivalent of a mouse/input device to draw. Controlling a vehicle or calling up database records, sure, but creating graphics will not be done on a virtual keyboard. I'm pretty sure of this unless telekinesis becomes the new input method.

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post #34 of 64
another piece of the puzzle.. looks like the ipad pro is going to make a great apple tv (or any tv) remote
post #35 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

This might be a good time to review how this works under the Star Trek model of computing. Yes, personal computers do exist, in people's homes, for example, but let's focus on how this works aboard the Enterprise-D. Are there mice? No. Are there keyboards with keys on them? No. Do they primarily use touch screens? No. Does everyone talk to the computer most of the time? No. (Unless they need enable Self-Destruct, when it doesn't really matter that it's disruptive because everyone is fighting for a spot in the escape pods anyway.)

The basic model is the virtual keyboard. This is a touch sensitive control panel that adapts to function, separate from the screen. Difficult to say whether they have haptic feedback, but likely, since they often manipulate it without looking at it. This is where we are headed, the only question is how long it will take us to get there.

I think we are still several years away from this and the thing that's holding it back is the development of haptic feedback interfaces. So, we probably won't be there entirely in 5 years, but maybe in 10. In the meantime, we can enjoy our tricorders and tablets.

I like this. But what about those of us like me that are incredibly lazy? I want thought input and a visual cortex stimulator.
post #36 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

You know all those engineering drawings that they flash on the screen in those shows - those won't be drawn with a virtual keyboard even in star date 2050. The human hand will still need the equivalent of a mouse/input device to draw. Controlling a vehicle or calling up database records, sure, but creating graphics will not be done on a virtual keyboard. I'm pretty sure of this unless telekinesis becomes the new input method.

Well, they never actually show us how those graphics are created. Presumably, the ship schematics type of graphics were created elsewhere and loaded into the system. For ad hoc graphics that, for example, are displayed during meetings, it's unclear what input method they use, although, there's no reason that the touch "control panels" can't double for this input purpose, duplicating and extending what a Wacom tablet does today. Remember, this is the 24th century, so graphics software probably works much better with the human hand as a drawing instrument, straightening lines, rounding arcs, etc. However, they haven't completely abandoned "old media", such as paint and canvas, so they may still have "drawing pens" around. Even in the Star Trek model there are still some unknowns.
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

I like this. But what about those of us like me that are incredibly lazy? I want thought input and a visual cortex stimulator.

That will come when you get your Google implant and become part of the collective.
post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

That will come when you get your Google implant and become part of the collective.

Oh great. Just what I need, ads cluttering my already cluttered brain.
Guess I better dial back my ideas a bit.
post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor David View Post

Oh great. Just what I need, ads cluttering my already cluttered brain.
Guess I better dial back my ideas a bit.

No, it'll be great, they will tell you what you want to do. There won't be any more mental clutter.
post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

No, it'll be great, they will tell you what you want to do. There won't be any more mental clutter.

Right, right. I was wondering how google would monetize my brain but of course they would skip that step and just control it outright. I think I'm up to speed now.
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