Apple working on adding multi-touch to iPod click-wheels

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Having pioneered multi-touch for its iPhone and iPod touch handhelds, Apple later extended the technology to trackpads on its Mac notebook line and now appears ripe to introduce the first iPod click-wheels with similar capabilities.



Though sales of the iPod touch have taken off in recent quarters, recent reports suggest that we haven't seen the last of click-wheel-based iPods, the next of which is expected to turn up this fall in the form of a fifth-generation iPod nano with a built-in digital camera and more compact circular scroll wheel.



This new nano could be the first iPod support multi-touch gestures through its click-wheel, according to recent patent filing discovered by AppleInsider this week that details methods for detecting "input gestures that traverse the center of the scroll wheel and to detect multi-touch input."



More specifically, the 38-page filing made just this past September describes a "multi-dimensional scroll wheel" that "can sense a moving object, such as a finger, as it is moved not only in a rotational manner but also in a linear manner across the center of the scroll wheel." This new breed of scroll wheel would also be capable of sensing more than one object at a time, such as multi-finger touch or motion.



"Applications can be enhanced by the improved range of input enabled by the scroll wheel circuitry," Apple explained. "For example, linear motion, such as a swipe across the scroll wheel, can enable an image browsing application to cause images, such as album cover pictures for example, to be transitioned across a screen."



Multi-touch input, such as one finger touching an inner region of the scroll and another finger rotating in the outer region, can also enable a zooming application to cause a displayed image to be zoomed-in or out, depending on the direction of the rotation. Similarly, a pinching or expanding of a user's fingers can enable the zooming application to cause a zooming action.







"The scroll wheel circuitry can also bias the sensor element configuration according to the type of input event expected," the filing adds. "For example, if a particular application permits only linear motion input along a particular axis (e.g., a horizontal or vertical swipe), the scroll wheel circuitry can utilize only the sensor elements arranged along that path to sense for an input event. By using less than all available sensor elements in this manner, the scroll wheel circuitry can achieve power savings."



The filing is credited to over half a dozen Apple engineers, including Lakshman Rathnam, Louis Bokma, Fletcher Rothkopf, Andrea Mucignat, Erturk Kocalar, Benjamin Lyon and Joseph Fisher.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    Wouldn't it make sense to remove the wheel then? I mean, if it just have a big surface on front where you can touch it, would be better. You could still make the circular movement, but now you could also just move your fingers up/down.
  • Reply 2 of 33
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,107member
    Might not make a 100% sense right now, but still I am sure once it comes out we will all understand and buy one each!
  • Reply 3 of 33
    nite41nite41 Posts: 41member
    This is what I love about Apple. Their constant desire to improvise, to do something new.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    nite41nite41 Posts: 41member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by T'hain Esh Kelch View Post


    Wouldn't it make sense to remove the wheel then? I mean, if it just have a big surface on front where you can touch it, would be better. You could still make the circular movement, but now you could also just move your fingers up/down.



    Would absolutely love that! Like a trackpad for the iPod. Would be awesomely amazing!!
  • Reply 5 of 33
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    So much for putting all the controls on the cord of the headset. I'm glad to see that Apple has come to their senses in that regard. The click wheel is perfect- intuitive and easy. No need to get rid of it.
  • Reply 6 of 33
    emulatoremulator Posts: 251member
    I thank especially Erturk Kocalar fot his.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    fabsgwufabsgwu Posts: 78member
    Like a Zune pad with multi-touch, no?
  • Reply 8 of 33
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,205member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    So much for putting all the controls on the cord of the headset. I'm glad to see that Apple has come to their senses in that regard. The click wheel is perfect- intuitive and easy. No need to get rid of it.







    I suspect the controls on the cord is only deemed appropriate for the shuffle because they want it to be compact and it's just music. You really don't need anything but volume, play/pause etc in that case.



    but with more forms of media you have nested menus etc and that's going to be a total pain with that little remote. a touch area could work. just for the sake of nostalgia you keep the wheel look perhaps.
  • Reply 9 of 33
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    I suspect the controls on the cord is only deemed appropriate for the shuffle because they want it to be compact and it's just music. You really don't need anything but volume, play/pause etc in that case.



    but with more forms of media you have nested menus etc and that's going to be a total pain with that little remote. a touch area could work. just for the sake of nostalgia you keep the wheel look perhaps.



    Controlling anything via a flailing cord is a pain versus the device itself w clickwheel attached securely to your hip while running. What were they thinking? i Love my 2 gen. The 3 gen is just a gimmick- imHo.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by T'hain Esh Kelch View Post


    Wouldn't it make sense to remove the wheel then? I mean, if it just have a big surface on front where you can touch it, would be better. You could still make the circular movement, but now you could also just move your fingers up/down.



    It might be prettier to have a circular shaped multi-touch trackpad. In addition one of the major motions is circular, so it makes sense to optimise the sensors for this motion, hence a circular arrangement for the sensor.
  • Reply 11 of 33
    javacowboyjavacowboy Posts: 802member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nite41 View Post


    Would absolutely love that! Like a trackpad for the iPod. Would be awesomely amazing!!



    I imagine the reason Apple doesn't add a touchscreen to the iPod Nano and the iPod Classic is that it's probably still too expensive for them to do so while maintaining their existing profit margins.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    applepiapplepi Posts: 365member
    That's a great idea Apple. Especially if the nano gets a camera. You'll need an easy way to navigate.



    I just hope we see this on the nanos coming out this year. After buying my forth gen I wasn't sure these things could get a whole lot better, but a built in camera and a gesture based track pad really opens up new possibilities.
  • Reply 13 of 33
    Personally, I would not mind seeing a simple remote on the headphone cord. Or at least an extension cord with a remote so you dont have to buy special headphones with builtin remotes.



    Simple controls like play and pause/stop would be enough. As an avid audible book listener, sometime I just want to pause the naration without havingto remove, unlck and stop my ipod (I know on the iPhone I can just unplug and it will stop wheer it is, but I still need to unlock and find the right item before I can restart)
  • Reply 14 of 33
    ibillibill Posts: 392member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fabsgwu View Post


    Like a Zune pad with multi-touch, no?



    No. Not like a zune.
  • Reply 15 of 33
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JavaCowboy View Post


    I imagine the reason Apple doesn't add a touchscreen to the iPod Nano and the iPod Classic is that it's probably still too expensive for them to do so while maintaining their existing profit margins.



    Not the only reason. Touch screens will always have the smudgy fingerprint problem that is not present with traditional laptops with touch pads or iPods with scroll wheels. The iPod touch and iPhone are great devices, but they are less than ideal as pure-play video players because the screen is always smudged. So there is still a role for the more traditional ipod form factor.
  • Reply 16 of 33
    hngfrhngfr Posts: 72member
    so now apple has the "circular touch pad" patented .

    amazing work,
  • Reply 17 of 33
    mcmlxixmcmlxix Posts: 32member
    ...toward the inevitable...macBook Wheel



    http://www.theonion.com/content/vide..._revolutionary
  • Reply 18 of 33
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,265member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by phelix_da_kat View Post


    Personally, I would not mind seeing a simple remote on the headphone cord. Or at least an extension cord with a remote so you dont have to buy special headphones with builtin remotes.



    Simple controls like play and pause/stop would be enough. As an avid audible book listener, sometime I just want to pause the naration without havingto remove, unlck and stop my ipod (I know on the iPhone I can just unplug and it will stop wheer it is, but I still need to unlock and find the right item before I can restart)



    It's a bit expensive since it also includes the radio tuner, but here ya go:



    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MA...mco=NDcwMzE1Mg



    I rarely use the radio tuner functionality. I mostly use it to clip to my jacket to avoid having to dig out my iPod, especially in the winter when you are wearing gloves and multiple layers of clothing.



    PS: It only works with the regular iPods, not the iPhone or touch...yet.
  • Reply 19 of 33
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Don't see any reason for keeping the thing round if is gonna be a touch pad. Also I like the wheel on the ipod nano, I think it does its function best. Keep multitouch out of the nano or classic. What they do need is a camera and a radio, would make them super nice music devices.



    Use multitouch in touch and phone, where they are amazing.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    ulfoafulfoaf Posts: 175member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nite41 View Post


    This is what I love about Apple. Their constant desire to improvise, to do something new.



    Exactly! No resting on their laurels. They want to continue to make sure the next portable music player you buy is an iPod. Adding technoloy and features generates a lot of interest.



    I would like to see iPods shipped with bluetooth streaming capabilities, though. I had to buy an adapter. Once you've done without, you definitely don't want wires!
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