Information and Links
Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to it from your blog.
Apple describes new interface for iPod
Apple Patent Application: Electronic Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control
Apple has previous described new iPod designs (in patent applications) which incorporate a touch sensitive surface into the display. There seems a scepticism on the web about designs becoming reality due to the problems of screen smudging and scratching.
This application has designs for a new iPod/Tablet/Phone (or dare I say it, Newton-like device) which put the touch sensitive areas into the bezel surrounding the iPod’s screen (as well as on the screen and sides of the device). The user interface seems particularly well conceived and relies on on-screen indicators of the control surface’s function. In addition to buttons the surfaces can act as scroll surfaces. The interface works by the user selecting a control to change (in the picture below- position in the song, volume, balance) and then, using the bottom surface to scroll, adjusting the element in real time (Fig. 19).
Oddly, for a patent application of this sort the application describes the hardware that could be used in making such a system: A suitable infrared sensor is an RE200B pyroelectric passive infrared sensor. A suitable accelerometer/inclinometer sensor is a KXP84 IC. Perhaps this iPod patent application will come to be?
Electronic Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control
An electronic device has a display and has a touch sensitive bezel surrounding the display. Areas on the bezel are designated for controls used to operate the electronic device. Visual guides corresponding to the controls are displayed on the display adjacent the areas of the bezel designated for the controls. Touch data is generated by the bezel when a user touches an area of the bezel. The device determines which of the controls has been selected based on which designated area is associated with the touch data from the bezel. The device then initiates the determined control. The device can have a sensor for determining the orientation of the device. Based on the orientation, the device can alter the areas designated on the bezel for the controls and can alter the location of the visual guides for the display so that they match the altered areas on the bezel.
From the application:
In one example, the electronic device 100 can be a picture frame having memory for storing digital pictures and for viewing on the display 110. In another example, the electronic device 100 can be a digital media device having the display 110, the touch sensitive bezel 120, and lacking most or all buttons or similar physical controls on the housing 52. In other examples, the electronic device 100 can be an electronic game, a personal digital assistant, a multimedia device, a cellular telephone, a portable video player, a portable navigation device, or the like.