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back to article Apple seeks touchscreen display mouse patent

Apple has filed a patent application for a mouse with a context-aware, configurable display perched on its back. As described in a US Patent and Trademark Office filing entitled Computer Input Device Including a Display Device, the mouse would have an LED, LCD, OLED, or TFT display inside that would project its contents through …

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Flame

Once again, all together:

PRIOR ART

OBVIOUS APPLICATION

STUPID USPTO

EVIL APPLE

I believe that will be all.

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and..

whilst they're at it making this thing they can fix the constant drop-outs and piss poor battery level calculations that plague their current design a.k.a magic mouse.

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RE: Mark 65

And they can fix the poor battery life by adding more functions and a touchscreen how?

It'll get the same or worse battery life but cost more than the "magic" mouse.

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Look it's 2011, we are in the future now

Where is the black hemisphere on the desk that I can think at and that does everything I want?

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@Tigra 07

Not battery life, battery levels - as in the indications you get on the Mac-end. If you've ever had the pleasure of owning one of these things you will notice after a period of ownership that the battery level reading becomes highly erratic. Brand new batteries like the ones it came with and within 5 minutes they're reading 85%, then the next day it's down to 60%, then 2 days after it's 20%, then back up to 70+%. It goes all over the shop. F*cking hopeless is the best review I could give it.

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Linux

Apple discovers the right mouse button.

Actually, the first thing this mouse made me think of was an old games console from the early 80s'. It was the Mattel Intelivision and it had a numeric keypad that you would put "context sensitive" overlays onto. This would give you different buttons for different games. Also had a thumbpad and a couple of buttons.

Although the whole "one button mouse" thing makes Apple attempting to patent any context sensitive input seems rather hilarious.

Oh look, there's context sensitive menu now (must have hit my 2nd mouse button).

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Keyboards like the optimus maximus are not patentable...

...because Arthur C Clarke thought of this idea first and described it in "Imperial Earth" (1976). The 'minisec', which resembled a smartphone, had configurable keytop displays to allow decently sized keys while keeping the minisec 'calculator-sized'.

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Are they also patenting the transparent hand?

I find I can't see very much of the top of my mouse when using it, because my hand covers it. Perhaps a tactile system would avoid the opacity problem? Some sort of raised area to indicate the clickable bits perhaps? In an advanced model they could even be made to move to provide feedback that the input had registered.

Or perhaps I don't need a transparent hand, perhaps I'm just 'holding it wrong', but Apple would never use such an excuse, would they?

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Would love to know who downvoted you ...

Its like a downvote of common sense and intelligent thought!

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Unhappy

Don't forget the magnifying glass

I wonder about all the new fangled devices like smart phones, some of the smaller tablets and now this strange concoction. All I can say is the developers must have eyes like hawks and finger ends like needles. Some of the PDA's I've used were only usable with the stylus. That now seems to be a thing of the past. Instead we have things that make using them akin to looking through a keyhole and waving a wand to do anything. I wonder how old these developers are, not my age that's for certain. Personally I find my 24" widescreen monitor a bit restrictive these days. And what about the visually impaired or do they not count any more?

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Boffin

Did it years ago

Well, sort of. It used an old PDA (an HTC Charmer if I remember correctly) to do motion tracking (only worked on a certain background but that's because I'm too lazy to code it properly) and could show anything as the PDA used SideWindow to act like as a touchscreen extra monitor for my PC. I even had a "rotate" function working, set to do the forwards and back functions when browsing online.

Not quite the same- this would have a proper mouse integrated into it. And wouldn't have a 200ms-or-so lag on the mouse functionality.

But on the other hand my mouse was able to run touchscreen Excel, make phone calls and even work as a keyboard!

If I'd known this was patentable I'd have grabbed the IP for this, but it did seem pretty simple and barely a step up from the rodent we all know and put up with.

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Stop

Stupid idea?

I may have missed the point, but surely that would be uncomfortable to use (for a long period of time anyway) and would suffer the same smudge related problems as other touch screens, but worse because you probably have your hand on it more often and for longer?

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Megaphone

Apple the king of ergonUmics

because constantly looking down from the screen at what your hands are doing is recomended by nine out of ten ergonomicists*

*And you should have seen the trouble we had finding those nine!

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Unhappy

Never ending stream of Apple Tosh: Fibre optics hardly price sensitive

Forgetting about Apple plagiarising prior art,. the concept of using fibre optics in this application cannot overcome the cost of the fibre and accessories.

Just trolling for more legal fights.

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Anonymous Coward

It's just a fibre bundle,

not a fibre-based data transmission system. Lots of fibres lined up next to each other to carry a picture from one point to another wouldn't be that expensive- you need a length of fibre that's (Pixelcount x avg. distance) long, cut it up, and rebundle it. Holding it in place can be achieved by just sliding it through a mesh (to keep the pixels lined up) and potting it with a clear epoxy.

Fibre itself is really, really cheap. And a small OLED display would be able to be scaled up to cover a larger area (though it'd be relatively blocky and ugly and not at all Apple-like).

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Not possible

The concept is too similar to pre-existing products. Any patent office that awards Apple a patent for this didn't do their homework.

Apple didn't even do their homework.

I was looking at some devices the other week, that were strikingly similar.

What about Wacom's tablet/monitor combo graphics tablet device?

Simply joining a mouse to a touchscreen shouldn't be patentable, since it's not doing anything novel or new. And context-sensitivity displays aren't new. They've been around for a while.

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JDX
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What's wrong

With a regular mouse that has a couple of buttons? I don't even use all the buttons on my 5-button mouse.

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wow....

What a great idea. Will it come with a mini mouse so the fat-fingered apple-twaterati can navigate to controls on their new screen. And will that one have a screen? Im off to patent a micro-mouse for navigating the screen on a mini mouse that is used to navigate the screen... sod it, i'm bored.

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Happy

Just a wild guess, but ...

this would double as a remote control for Apple TV/iTunes/Media and also act as remote gesture mouse for sofa-surfing TV connected Macs.

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Patents serve 2 purposes

1. To protect your innovative device so people can't make ripoffs

2. To snare your competition in legal disputes over products with only the most tenious link to the original patent

Guess which Apple is interested in.

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@Thomas 18

They are of course pissing up as many lamp posts as they possibly can hoping to create as many legal and financial tripwires as possibe. They are not the first nor will they be the last until the US does something about its patent laws.

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FAIL

whats in the way ..

Whats in the way of those buttons .. oh yeah .. MY FINGERS YOU CLODS!

EPIC FAIL

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Yeah right...

Like they're ever going to bother making these when they haven't even got round to making mice with 2 buttons yet.

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Anonymous Coward

You're new here

Aren't you Tom?

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Happy

Err ...

Apple have made multi-button mice since at least 2005. If you click on the left side, it does a left click; on the right side ... you get the idea.

These days absence of physical buttons does not indicate absence of functionality.

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Linux

MacPuke for the new Apple store?

> These days absence of physical buttons does not indicate absence of functionality.

Sure it does. 2005 does not impress any of us that were using Macs in 1988. Apple has a very long and well established design history in this area. The fact that they finally acknowledged in as an option a couple of years ago really doesn't change the other 20 years that went before it.

The sudden existence of more buttons doesn't indicate any associated functionality.

Can I assume that those buttons will be present on a Mac laptop or that anyone will actually take advantage of them after 20 years of buying into Mac dogma?

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Happy

"Can I assume that those buttons will be present on a Mac laptop .. ?"

It's called a 'two-fingered tap' - these days abscence ... etc

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Anonymous Coward

What a great idea!

Personally think it's a great idea, especially when in the context of say a numeric keypad. If you could have it so that each application could display it's own option on the mouse, brilliant.

Copy and paste for example, use your mouse to select text, then press another part of your mouse to copy, no cmd+c or right click > copy.

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FAIL

Already exists, and they are better

I know Razer makes a mouse with a keypad on the left "side" of the mouse. It is hardware buttons so you don't have to look down too. You hit the buttons with your thumb instead of having to move your entire hand to see a screeen. What use is a display that changes context but you have to interrupt the flow of using the computer to pull your hand up and refocus on a tiny screen? Not to mention the wear and tear on a touch screen that has a palm resting on it for many, many hours a day.

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Apple mice suck

I have several macs. Every time I buy a new one my first task is to chuck out the Apple mouse and replace with something better. I love a lot of Apple gear but mice is one thing they are particularly rubbish at.

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Jobs Horns

Mouse

I thought Apple only believed in one mouse button.

Every Mac/iBook I've seen has had a mouse with a solitary clicking device, except for people who have stuck a Logitech/Microsoft mouse into it.

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an LED, LCD, OLED, or TFT display inside...

...so one based around a small CRT would be a way to avoid patent infrinement? It'd also solve the problem of providing a nice curved surface, rather than a flat one.

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IR

If only

If only I could use my touchscreen phone as a remote. Oh wait, I have been doing that for several months - gMote and Unified Remote both work great.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh you as well?

My iPhone's been doing it for several months too.

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Muh?

My mouse has two/three clicky things with a scrolly thing and this pointy thing, which sometimes changes shape, appears on and moves about the screen which has context sensitive menus on it that do stuff as well.

Seems to work.

Have I missed something?

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Anyone else thinking...

how annoying it's going to be to constantly be activating keys on the mouse touchscreen by accident? The whole thing just strikes me as a bad idea.

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