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Apple Patents the Ultra Wide Touchpad for Notebooks

The document describes a technology that uses an image sensor to detect a user's hand location relative to a touch sensitive surface, which extends to the left and right of an existing trackpad, and the keyboard.

Apple envisioned the wide-trackpad to be a solution to make data input on notebooks much more user friendly and create intelligent palm-rest areas that can differentiate between scenarios in which a hand is simply "resting" and when it is applied to control objects on the screen. While the size of touchpads was traditionally minimized to prevent unintended data input, Apple went the other way and searched for ways to extend it.

The wide-area trackpad never went into production and we have no information and suspicion that this will happen anytime soon. The actual benefits of a much wider trackpad may not have been substantial enough to justify the expense of commercializing the idea, even if the move to 3D and previous patent filings that indicate that Apple could be using light beams for object detection above the keyboard could change that stance. In scenarios that rely on touch input, the identification of "accidental contact when a user does not intend to activate the touchpad" is rather tricky.

  • AznCracker
    Is apple going to patent the technique of touching the touchpad?
    Reply
  • Gulli
    Pretty soon they'll be patenting buttons, and after that, moving your fingers in a downward motion and finally breathing. The sky is the limit in an east Texas court!
    Reply
  • house70
    Do they have a working prototype?
    No?
    Then, they should STFU.
    Reply
  • house70
    GulliPretty soon they'll be patenting buttons, and after that, moving your fingers in a downward motion and finally breathing. The sky is the limit in an east Texas court!Luckily, I own the patent for raising the middle finger. They can not patent that, but as a consolation prize, they get that gesture every day.
    Reply
  • molo9000
    GulliPretty soon they'll be patenting buttonsAnd then they'll declare war on all button-kind.

    Steve Jobs hated buttons with a passion and I bet Apple is still on a crusade to eliminate as many buttons as possible.

    btw: Apple trackpads are really good, but I doubt anyone could get an "ultra wide touchpad" to actually work.
    No software is smart enough to eliminate all accidental inputs.
    Reply
  • evang
    What are the advantages of this? A simple sensitivity adjustment makes a normal sized track pad more then adequate for common laptop uses. Anybody who needs more precise movement will just plug-in a mouse anyways.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    evangWhat are the advantages of this? A simple sensitivity adjustment makes a normal sized track pad more then adequate for common laptop uses. Anybody who needs more precise movement will just plug-in a mouse anyways.
    Oh god, I could imagine Apple patenting the touchscreen, no-click mouse.
    Reply
  • nforce4max
    I hate the current patent system and all the abuses there of that allow anyone to patent or own the rights to everything and anything just short of a full birth human. I hate civilization as it exist as it is some sick twisted system of domination and control. I hope it all goes back to the dark ages for a while just to make people appreciate knowledge and technology. It isn't nor should it be a cash cow but to improve the quality of life but instead companies like Apple or Exxon ect are prime examples of providing minimum to no innovation while maximizing profit at the least expense. In the end the best tech and ideas never get used but are owned. Copyright and Intellectual rights while being the optime of hypocrisy are slowly killing off any real creative expression and free thought in this world.
    Reply
  • drwho1
    I have patented the "I let her touch me all she wants" follow by my other patent "I touch myself if she doesn't" .... hehehe

    Thankfully for Apple they can still fill out the form for the "sleep on the dog house" patent.
    Reply
  • dimar
    I'll patent shit (and I already have a working prototype and production facility), nobody can produce it without paying royalties in cash!
    Reply