Apple's dual-sided touch panel concept shows clamshell iPhone, trackpad designs

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple has shown interest in developing foldable touch-sensitive devices with two separate, foldable surfaces ? a concept that could apply to a flip-style iPhone or a new trackpad design.

Patent 1


The details were revealed in a patent application published this week and discovered by AppleInsider. The new filing, entitled "Dual-Sided Track Pad," notes that the concept could be applied to a touch-only Magic Trackpad style device, or to a touchscreen device like an iPhone.

The dual touch panel concept could also allow for two different types of panels to be presented to users. For example, a top display could be accompanied by a bottom trackpad, foldable in a manner like a notebook.

In Apple's concept, the top touch panel may be translucent, so that when it is folded over on top of a bottom display, the two can complement each other.

"The display element and the array element may be configured with respect to each other, where different configurations can be associated with different operating modes," the filing reads. "For example, when the array elemtn lies over the display element screen so that the display screen is viewable through the array element, the array element can function as a touch screen."

The trackpad on a MacBook could even be used as a sort of window when the device is closed, in one example provided by Apple. It shows a closed MacBook with the screen still displaying through a slot where the translucent trackpad is located, displaying e-mail alerts or other pertinent information while the computer is closed.

Patent 2


Both surfaces could also be touch-sensitive and could be utilized at the same time in such a device. Apple's system could simultaneously "interpret or accept input from any of the devices according to the computer's mode of use."

The filing notes that touchscreens are desirable for certain tasks, while touchpads are sometimes better suited for other functions. A new device could automatically designate one touch panel for certain types of tasks, while the other touch-sensitive surface would be enabled for tasks more appropriate for its use. But Apple notes that this method could be too complicated for practical use.

"Despite the availability of useful input tools, making the appropriate input tool available for the user remains a problem," the filing reads. "It is therefore a goal of this invention to solve or at least reduce the problems associated with input tools on computing devices."

The proposed invention was first filed with the USPTO in September of 2006. It is credited to Chris A. Ligtenberg.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Yup, strengthened by the fact that references to clamshell appear in the iOS 6 code... http://www.looptruth.com/apple-may-be-developing-a-flip-phone-or-other-clamshell-device/
  • Reply 2 of 18


    Originally Posted by maverick808 View Post

    Yup, strengthened by the fact that references to clamshell appear in the iOS 6 code... http://www.looptruth.com/apple-may-be-developing-a-flip-phone-or-other-clamshell-device/


     


    This is just a patent. That link showed no reference to anything in iOS 6.

  • Reply 3 of 18
    Yup, strengthened by the fact that references to clamshell appear in the iOS 6 code... http://www.looptruth.com/apple-may-be-developing-a-flip-phone-or-other-clamshell-device/

    Thanks for that link. From there, it looks like they could release a laptop style iPad. And that would seem, off. Unless it's a 7 inch foldable iPad or something.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post





    Thanks for that link. From there, it looks like they could release a laptop style iPad. And that would seem, off. Unless it's a 7 inch foldable iPad or something.


    Very off. It seems so un-Apple like. A laptop where the trackpad is a screen visible when the laptop is closed? Too convoluted, too much... Its a little like a mouse that is also a phone ;-) I think the iPad and iPhone replaced these ideas. And ditto the instant on clamshell Air.

  • Reply 5 of 18
    Oh boy here we go...
  • Reply 6 of 18
    This is an invention?
    Haven't we seen that before?
    Courier someone? Surface?
  • Reply 7 of 18
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    philboogie wrote: »
    Thanks for that link. From there, it looks like they could release a laptop style iPad. And that would seem, off. Unless it's a 7 inch foldable iPad or something.

    I think it's more likely that "clamshell" refers to the MacBook Air.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    It's a clamshell device for your pet clam.  It water proof and can withstand 1 atmosphere of water depth.  It will display many pretty colors for your clam without a shell.  Apple is kind to clams.

  • Reply 9 of 18
    I don't think this is that far off of what Apple has already been working on. The smart cover was built to allow the cover to be folded back to give partial access to the screen. I am just not sure that I have seen anyone take advantage of this functionality.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    Maybe it's not as big as first guess. Maybe it's an new Apple Tv remote that would be a handy remote if you think about it.
  • Reply 11 of 18

    These are the entries in the iOS 6 code...


     


    -(void)clamshellDidClose:(GSEventRef)clamshell;


    -(void)clamshellDidOpen:(GSEventRef)clamshell;
  • Reply 12 of 18


    Originally Posted by maverick808 View Post

    These are the entries in the iOS 6 code...


     


    -(void)clamshellDidClose:(GSEventRef)clamshell;


    -(void)clamshellDidOpen:(GSEventRef)clamshell;



     


    Huh. Could that also refer to the action of opening the Smart Cover?

  • Reply 13 of 18
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Huh. Could that also refer to the action of opening the Smart Cover?

    Of course. Or a MacBook Air. Or any number of things.
  • Reply 14 of 18

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Huh. Could that also refer to the action of opening the Smart Cover?



    I don't think so because there are other methods that do refer to the smart cover and that have been around since the smart cover came out. These are new methods that only appeared in iOS 6.


     


    I doubt it refers to the MacBook Air since this is only in iOS code, not OS X.

  • Reply 15 of 18

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post



    This is an invention?

    Haven't we seen that before?

    Courier someone? Surface?


     


    Wasn't this patent filed for in 2006?  Would that not pre-date those concepts?

  • Reply 16 of 18

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    It's a clamshell device for your pet clam.  It water proof and can withstand 1 atmosphere of water depth.  It will display many pretty colors for your clam without a shell.  Apple is kind to clams.



     


    I too am kind to clams.

  • Reply 17 of 18
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    I don't think so because there are other methods that do refer to the smart cover and that have been around since the smart cover came out. These are new methods that only appeared in iOS 6.

    So they couldn't add a new feature or new method for the smart cover?
    I doubt it refers to the MacBook Air since this is only in iOS code, not OS X.

    Yes, but Apple is bringing them closer together and constantly trying things in the lab. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a version of iOS that runs on MBA in the labs.
  • Reply 18 of 18

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Huh. Could that also refer to the action of opening the Smart Cover?



     


    Doesn't sound like it. I figure with the smart cover it would say something like "Peek". A clamshell is pretty specific.


     


    It's the obvious way to add more screen real estate without expanding too large in the pocket. You can have a useful-sized keyboard, controls for the content -- you know, Nintendo DUO style. I'm sure the main reason they didn't do it before was the battery drain and cost of adding more screen. But they could probably make one screen a low-powered, and "cheap" mostly control device with graphics and leave the high resolution quality screen for the videos and games.


     


    It's about time!

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