Apple filing shows touch-sensitive bezel on iPod-like device | iLounge News

Apple filing shows touch-sensitive bezel on iPod-like device


Another Apple patent application detailing a next-generation, multi-function handheld device has surfaced. The patent—titled “Electronic Device Having Display and Surrounding Touch Sensitive Bezel for User Interface and Control”—describes and shows a full-screen, iPod-like device that incorporates touch-sensitive areas on its bezel around the screen. The areas would allow users to make selections and operate the device without the need for a touch-screen interface.

From Apple’s patent application:

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.

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That for me would be better than having a virtual scroll wheel in the middle of the screen - locating it in the border would be easier to put your hands on without looking (e.g. in the car) where at the moment I get the tactical feedback of the wheel. Want one :-)

Posted by Phil Bowman on October 26, 2006 at 12:07 PM (CDT)


Apple is so good! That makes so much sense. Like the original iPod, this is a better solution.

Posted by urbanslaughter on October 26, 2006 at 12:51 PM (CDT)


I see no scroll wheel in that drawing.  If only the bezel was touch sensitive, where would the scroll wheel go?

Posted by Michael on October 26, 2006 at 1:02 PM (CDT)


Looks like I better hurry up and get a 5G before Apple goes and messes up the scroll wheel and big, simple buttons.

Posted by drummrsanonymous on October 26, 2006 at 1:21 PM (CDT)


Very cool, that would keep fingerprints, smudges and wear/tear off the screen.

I have no issue without the scroll wheel, as long as it works.  I do think we will need to use both hands for this.  Creating cases may be a little hard.  You would have to have some type of soft clear plastic floating over it for a skin.  Or just use a clam shell case that covers it. (But then you would have to open it everytime you want to use it.)

Now we can have a real video Ipod for those itune movies and our ripped DVDs.  I think that this is the driving factor on this design; that and to beat Microsoft at the whole moblie and HTPC market. (MS’s Zune and MCE) 

I just Hope the screen has more colors (16 mil). Really hope it has the same or more HD space and battery life like the 5.5 video ipod.

Posted by jntaylor63 on October 26, 2006 at 1:43 PM (CDT)


Yeah…Rush out and get a 5G, genius.  Do you think they would do anything to reduce functionality?  Other than discontinuing the mini, can you think of any design or plan in the last five years that hasn’t advanced the iPod’s sleekness and functionality (iTunes not withstanding)?  These are patent drawings.  They are patenting the concept and idea of bezel-located controls.  Have no fear, dummysanonymous, they’ll make controls that even you can figure out.

Posted by genius on October 26, 2006 at 1:44 PM (CDT)


Next on iLounge: When Apple fanboys attack!

Calm down, “genius.”  Your manhood isn’t threatened just because someone criticized Apple.

Posted by stark23x on October 26, 2006 at 2:17 PM (CDT)


If Apple were to integrate a PDA into this (ala the Newton and its handwriting recognition that was so bloody good) then I’ll buy a unit for my entire family. Still have my Newtons, still love my Newtons.

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on October 26, 2006 at 3:04 PM (CDT)


I have my doubts.

First off - they spelled “friends” wrong on the interface. Is that something a company like Apple would let pass?

Secondly - An interface like that _WOULD NOT_ work with one-handed operation. If you are right handed, to work the left side means rubbing the right edge, and engaging the touch sensitive areas. Again - is that something Apple would overlook?

Posted by Warren Piece on October 26, 2006 at 3:31 PM (CDT)


that seems interesting.  But seriously, what is to make that any different than any one of the many devices (PVPs) on the market that already perform this function, such as the Archos 604 .  The little apple logo isn’t going to make it better.

Posted by Monkey in the Closet on October 26, 2006 at 3:44 PM (CDT)


Just because a company files a patent app doesn’t mean its going to be used.  Companies simply file to get it in the pipeline in case it comes to fruition.  IBM is still the patent king and only 10% of their patents ever come to a product.  It’s probably just something that someone in the chain thought is pretty cool.  I doubt that Steve Jobs have even seen the patent app much less the device in quesion.  Although it is nice to speculate, its all speculation…. remember that and you won’t get worked up and expect something that will never se the light of day.

Posted by Patents are not products on October 26, 2006 at 3:53 PM (CDT)


Monkey in the Closet,

It is implementation and execution that have consistently made Apple what it is. Apple’s way of doing it is always a bit better than how others do it.

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on October 26, 2006 at 4:46 PM (CDT)


You considered that an attack?  I hope Oprah isn’t too traumatizing for you, dude.  I’m sure we are all glad you are here to defend the inane.

As so many pointed out, it’s a concept being patented.  The poor guy will still be able to operate his iPod without a manual. He can still rush out to buy his 5G, but I don’t think he has much to worry about in terms of functionality of future devices.  I wasn’t defending Apple, but given their track record over the last five years, odds are it will be very utile and sleek.  So bash away, just don’t be inane about it.

Posted by genius on October 26, 2006 at 5:05 PM (CDT)


Thing is…. isn’t a touch sensitive control system taking a step back? Yes it’s all very futuristic in a ‘movie world’ sense, but as I know from my 3G iPod, controlling a touch sensitive device is frought with problems of accidentally glancing your fingertip over a control only to change tracks, or pause it.

Without real ‘clickable’ buttons, these things cannot be used out on the road, in a car, whilst our runnning or whatever. Only if you’re in a still environment.

My other half’s 4G clickwheel is much more practical and easy to use than the 3G touch sensitive interface.

Posted by Darren Carnall on October 26, 2006 at 5:55 PM (CDT)


I completely agree with “Patents are not products.” Even if this were intended to be used immediately, they would be a long time away from creating a production model based on this. (Patents don’t require working models, except in the case of perpetual motion machines.)

While something like this makes much more sense than a touch-screen video iPod, I still don’t see the consumer market for it. Would it be cool? Absolutely. But it would also be bulkier, more expensive, and with worse battery life than the current iPod. And the controls would be “cool,” but less user friendly. (The clickwheel is genius.)

At the end of the day, the only advantage is a larger screen. How often does the average consumer want to watch a widescreen film on a handheld device?

My feeling is that the average consumer would be much better served by the current iPod-with-video than the fabled “true” video iPod. Hard core video fans would buy it, but it would either represent a very small percentage of overall iPod sales, or fail completely.

Posted by BJ Nemeth on October 26, 2006 at 6:14 PM (CDT)


I have absolute faith in apple to come out with a very user-friendly and intuitive new iPod. Patents are only a way of protecting your ideas that may never come to light!

How about modifying the shape and size of the current scroll wheel to provide more screen-real estate?  Maybe some additional improvements to the battery and memory capacity?  I’d love to see a 100GB iPod!!

Anyway, Go Apple!!!

Posted by mikkimann on October 26, 2006 at 6:45 PM (CDT)


I am a 3G owner, and have had a lot of experience with 4G and 5G iPods.  Maybe it is because I am used to it, but I like the 3G control set up more.  I extremely like the idea of limited moving parts (only the little hold switch) on the outside.  The click wheel may be more ‘functional’ but the difference is WORTH the added sleekness.  Ask anybody, which iPod LOOKS nicer.  All touch-sensitive neat backlit buttons, or a juvenile hideous gray click wheel.        MAKE THIS PATENT A PRODUCT APPLE!!!      My 2 cents.  The end.

Posted by jegero on October 26, 2006 at 7:03 PM (CDT)


First off, watching any video on the current lineup of Macs sucks, period. And this current lineup will not work with Apple’s longrun plans of video distribution—it is too small. There is a threshold whereby the consumer will purchase both the size and the format of video, and it is not too small. Apple is wise to move in this direction.

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on October 26, 2006 at 7:41 PM (CDT)


Apple Should not REPLACE the 5G ipod, but come p w/another product (aka, this thing) The “iPiolit” or somthing. from what I can tell aboout the pictures, I think I’ll like the “old” ipods better! anyways that’s what I think

Posted by LawnBoy04 on October 26, 2006 at 7:44 PM (CDT)


“Macs” should have been “iPods” in my previous post.

Posted by FahrenheiPod 451 on October 26, 2006 at 7:46 PM (CDT)

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