Apple employees file for wide touchpad patent

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Several Apple employees have collectively filed a patent request for a wide touchpad on a noteboook computer, where the palm rest areas of the portable would formed a said touchpad.

In the filing made on August 25, 2004 and published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday, Apple employees describe several examples of a "wide touchpad and keyboard" that would allow a user to interact with the display screen and enter data.

One description says the wide touchpad may be a cursor control device having the capabilities of conventional computer mouse, such as the ability to point, drag, tap, and double tap objects on a graphical user interface, as well as more general purposes such as scrolling, panning, zooming, and rotating images on display screen.

"The wide touchpad extends into the areas on the surface of the base assembly that are normally reserved for palm rest areas," the filing says. "In one embodiment, the touchpad possesses the ability to reject accidental contact when a user does not intend to activate the touchpad."

In another example, a sensor is disposed near the touchpad and keyboard of the portable computer to sense hand location of a user, and subsequently determine whether the touchpad contact is intentional or accidental.

"The touchpad responds properly by either recognizing the action on the touchpad or rejecting the action," the filing says. "As a result, the user is able to work efficiently, allowing for typing and cursor control operations to occur seamlessly."

Yet another example describes the touchpad as consisting of a two dimensional surface sensor that can detect one or more objects on the touchpad surface, and output information regarding the location, width, presence, and number of said objects, in a manner that can be interpreted by the computer system to generate cursor movement, or otherwise interpret a user's either intentional or unintentional input. Such an touchpad device may utilize capacitive sensing, the filing says.

"The surface of the touchpad may include a grid of conductive metal wires covered by an insulator. When two electrically conductive objects come near each other without touching, their electric fields interact to form capacitance. Also, when another conductive material, such as a human finger, comes in contact with the touchpad surface, a capacitance forms."

Wide Touchpad Patent Illustrations

The patent filing -- which is credited to several known Apple employees such as Bas Ording and Bartley Andre -- goes on to list dozens of possible behaviors for a wide touchpad, including a device that would support "multiple or two-handed input."


  • Reply 1 of 16
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    An Apple patent appeared YEARS ago (like pre-2000 I'm thinking) showing a wide touchpad that covered the whole wrist-rest. Seems like there's some overlap wth this. (Needless to say that old patent was never used in a product.)

    That one showed a central area used for the cursor, and showed other ways to use the whole thing--like signing a document by signing the wrist rest on the right. There were things about triggering top menus and other functions too I seem to recall. Maybe something about fingers triggering the central area, but only a stylus could trigger the whole surface?

    If anyone has a link to those old images I'll be impressed

    (And where do they get the tree frogs that are always shown in the drawings using the products?)
  • Reply 2 of 16
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member

    This is the MBP I'll be waiting for.
  • Reply 3 of 16

    Originally posted by Hobbes

    This is the MBP I'll be waiting for.

    Ditto; and given the time it took Apple to start making the iSight MBP after AppleInsider reported that patent, we could be seeing wide touchpads as soon as next year. Yes, I know, I am of the olympic hopefuls.
  • Reply 4 of 16
    bergermeisterbergermeister Posts: 6,784member
    Though not quite the same, there was a pad made by that allowed you to make gestures with your hand to input... almost bought one a couple of years ago but couldn't afford it at the time.

    Why the look of a notebook in the file drawings? This is more for a tablet.

    The tree frogs are actually my hands. They pay me royally for the priviledge.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member
    This is so Apple.........small steps, very gradual, very human!

    Check this!

    Fucking link wont work!!!!!!!!! FUCK!!!!!!
  • Reply 6 of 16
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Remember that MANY Apple patents NEVER become shipping products. This sounds like one that may well never see the light.

    PS - Here's that link (just paste a link into your post with the http part and you don't even need URL tags):
  • Reply 7 of 16
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Fingerworks has ceased as a business.

    Maybe Apple bought 'em out.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    clonenodeclonenode Posts: 392member
    I think this is just a patent for the current Scrolling Trackpad - nothing more, nothing less.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    19841984 Posts: 955member
    Apple is definitely up to something with all these touchpad patents. All I know is they sure love to draw freaky looking hands.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    i'd like to see circular tracking pads

    a la ipod click wheel

    to either side of the mouse tracking pad

    universal programmability

    default // document scrolling


    bring back the ipod 3g four button array

    above each click wheel
  • Reply 11 of 16
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,035member

    Originally posted by Bergermeister

    Though not quite the same, there was a pad made by that allowed you to make gestures with your hand to input... almost bought one a couple of years ago but couldn't afford it at the time.

    Why the look of a notebook in the file drawings? This is more for a tablet.

    The tree frogs are actually my hands. They pay me royally for the priviledge.

    You poor thing!
  • Reply 12 of 16
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    A wide touchpad might be pretty cool if it can be flexibly adapted to the user's needs. I think that Fingerworks company is probably only showing a small portion of the idea's potential. I'm thinking music keyboard, audio mixer control and such.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    it will be an invisible touchpad with only a small graphical indication of where it is.

    Apple is a stickler for aesthetics and a minimalist style. An unnoticeable trackpad seems somewaht obvious, probably using the same technology as the iPod scroll wheel and Mighty Mouse.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    I found an image of the much-earlier patent (maybe 2001?) that relates to this:
  • Reply 15 of 16
    666666 Posts: 134member
    This would be a DREAM for Logic Pro! Moving faders, knobs, manipulating the arrange window would be opened right up! As it'd be supported Apple hardware, they would write it into Logic as a control surface or direct input, and would be too good!

    Hopefully, if this does come to fruition, they'll also make some kind of touchpad for desktop systems too. Not new tech, but if it's Apple making it, they'll directly support it.

    Ahhh, the future!
  • Reply 16 of 16
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    A better explanation is found here:

    And this is also very interesting:
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