A number of Apple patent applications focusing on multi-touch research have been recently published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Mac Rumors notes that a majority of the applications protect research done by Wayne Westerman, the former cofounder of Fingerworks.
One of the applications, titled “Gesture Learning,” outlines methods to teach more advanced multi-finger gestures to users through the use of visible feedback and interactive games that help users learn the movements. Another application titled “Multi-event Input System” describes the use of both a finger and a second, non-capacitive surface, such as a fingernail or other tapping instrument, to control advanced operations such as text selection, copy/paste, and other secondary functionality.
This system would rely on a next-generation touchscreen capable of sensing different types of input. Interestingly, several of the illustrations accompanying the second patent show an iPod classic-like scroll wheel-equipped device with a small antenna protruding out the top.