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Apple patent reveals dual-sided handheld device

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2007
News Categories: iPod


A new Apple patent filing shows an iPod-like device that would boast a display on one side and a touch-sensitive surface on the other. Apple’s summary of the patent reads: “An electronic device uses separate surfaces for input and output. One of the surfaces (e.g., the bottom) includes a force-sensitive touch-surface through which a user provides input (e.g., cursor manipulation and control element selection). On a second surface (e.g., the top), a display element is used to present information appropriate to the device’s function (e.g., video information), one or more control elements and a cursor. The cursor is controlled through manipulation of the back-side touch-surface. The cursor identifies where on the back-side touch-surface the user’s finger has made contact.” [via Gizmodo]

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It looks version 2.0 of the iPhone, but without the phone part.

I wonder if it will come to fruition. I also wonder how much it might be.

Posted by cxc273 on May 10, 2007 at 8:28 AM (PDT)


Thanks for pointing out the obvious questions so nobody else has to.

If I am reading this correctly, this device is not made to be flipped around like most split input devices, and that movements BEHIND the backplane of the machine offer feedback on the front.  This would allow you to manipulate the device without your finger or a stylus obstructing your view.

I must say this is very novel.

Posted by dasmb on May 10, 2007 at 10:34 AM (PDT)


“One specific example of such a device is the video iPod.RTM. from Apple Computer. (IPOD is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.) In this class of device the display screen, typically a liquid crystal display (“LCD”), is often to small to make effective use of finger based touch input. Although a touch-screen interface could be embedded in or overlaid on the display, the use of even a single finger for input may occlude a significant portion of the display or cover more than a single operational control element. While this problem could be mitigated by limiting the touch area to a portion of the display screen (e.g., the display edges where horizontal or vertical motion could emulate slider controls), a single finger could still cover a substantial amount of the useful display area.”

They keep refering back to the video ipod in the description, which would lead you to believe that this is a concept for the 6G ipod.

Posted by thewho61 on May 10, 2007 at 12:03 PM (PDT)


That is so cool. I wasn’t too impressed with the touch screen on the same side as the screen as wildly speculated before this, but seeing this finally exited about the next ipod. Really hope this works out.

Posted by Shreddie on May 10, 2007 at 12:15 PM (PDT)


Man, this thing looks pretty cool… It’s a novel idea; I’m just not sure how popular this could get. It seems a little… awkward, manipulating two different sides. That is, touching one side and needing to flip it over to see what’s happening. Maybe not.

Posted by Hyperfried on May 10, 2007 at 12:22 PM (PDT)


I wish this were a concept for the 6G iPod, but I fear it’s probably a concept for the 8 or 9G iPod and like many other patents of its type, may never come to pass.

Posted by dodo on May 10, 2007 at 12:30 PM (PDT)


[0003] An increasingly popular form of electronic device is the hand-held multi-media device. Illustrative devices of this type include palm or hand-held personal computers, tablet computer systems, mobile telephones, personal digital assistants, portable video players and portable audio players. One specific example of such a device is the video iPod.RTM. from Apple Computer. (IPOD is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.) In this class of device the display screen, typically a liquid crystal display (“LCD”), is often to small to make effective use of finger based touch input….

wow…  you’d think an IP lawyer working for Apple would have better grammar….

Posted by jt on May 10, 2007 at 1:10 PM (PDT)


Perhaps Apple’s patent is more sophisticated, but the Samsung UpStage already has reverse-side controls (sort of), even if it’s based on mechanical controls and not a touchscreen. At the very least, the Samsung phone will give people an idea on how useful and/or enjoyable it is to have the main display on the opposite face of important controls.

Posted by flatline response on May 11, 2007 at 1:17 AM (PDT)


ilounge comment, 2005

The clickwheel is the sticking point. If Apple wants to make a larger-screen iPod without making the device itself larger, then there are two very simple choices. It could copy Archos, which moved from the iPod-shaped MMJB video player in 2002 (small screen, very annoying) to the current larger AV format (controls along the side). Or it could move the entire control interface to the reverse of the device, leaving one entire side for the clickwheel and controls, and perhaps a secondary small screen (but more cost).

Posted by meehawl on May 12, 2007 at 4:16 PM (PDT)

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