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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,164member
    So how long before a non Apple device is controlled by something like this made by Apple?
  • Reply 2 of 63
    iliveriliver Posts: 299member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 63
    Sounds great, but I'll have to change my batteries every week instead of every month.
  • Reply 4 of 63
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 63
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,164member
    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 ...
  • Reply 6 of 63
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,164member
    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
  • Reply 7 of 63
    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.)
  • Reply 8 of 63
    So I can get this as a "firmware fix" on my Magic Mouse?
  • Reply 9 of 63
    blursdblursd Posts: 123member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 63
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 63
    two words: magic trackpad. BOOM!
  • Reply 12 of 63
    oflifeoflife Posts: 120member
    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?
  • Reply 13 of 63
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,901member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 63
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 63
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    If Apple made a wifi mouse with two buttons and a scroll-wheel, it would be the best mouse they have ever made.



    Think Normal - sometimes it just works.
  • Reply 16 of 63
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,594member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 63
    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
  • Reply 18 of 63
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 63
    The odds of Apple offing something of such Microsoftian complexity seem slim indeed.



    Might make some sense for the Mac version of AutoCad, however...
  • Reply 20 of 63
    Why the hell won't Apple just build a normal freaking mouse?
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