Apple’s magic touch screen might be impossible to knockoff

“Of all the things that I find fascinating—and mysterious—about the iPhone, the touch-sensitive screen probably tops the list,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek.

“I’ve just spent an afternoon wading through a 29-page patent application that Apple filed in 2004 for what it calls a ‘multipoint touch screen.’ I’m coming away with some very interesting ideas concerning what touch-screen technology may mean for Apple and the direction its products may take. It holds promise not only for the iPhone, due to be released in about three months, but for Apple’s iPod music players as well. It could even presage a line of mobile computers,” Hesseldahl reports.

Hesseldahl reports, “The first thing that jumped out at me (perhaps it’s been noted elsewhere, but the significance escaped me during the opening weeks of the iPhone hype) is how technically sophisticated the screen is.”

“Impressive as a touch screen that can keep track of two fingers at once may be—try more than one finger on a conventional touch screen—the screen outlined in Apple’s patent application will be able to react to as many as 15 simultaneous touches. The document says that’s enough for all 10 fingers, the palms of both hands, and three ‘others,’ whatever they may be. The software on the iPhone, or whatever other device employs the technology, can respond to each individual signal, independent of the others. And this is where the possibilities are particularly intriguing. Once the iPhone is on the market, it follows that over the course of a year or so the iPod family of products will evolve and take on more iPhone-like trappings,” Hesseldahl reports.

Hesseldahl reports, “Apple appears to own the patents around this technology, though it seems a patent has yet to be formally issued. Some of the technology appears to have come from a company called Fingerworks, which was founded by two former University of Delaware professors and ceased operations in June, 2005. The founders may now be working with Apple, Reitzes says.”

Much more in the full article, in which Heddeldahl looks at the possiblilties of “a wireless-ready portable screen that can act as a sort of remote client for a conventional Mac and/or an Apple TV,” and more here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

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33 Comments

  1. I know this is a bit off topic…but why do the back of iPods and the new iPhone continue to be that smudge- welcoming shiny metal? It is such a bad idea…there are smudge-free metal surfaces you know.

    I was in Home Depot the other day shopping for a new fridge when I came across a “fingerprintless” metal surface. I think it is titanium (or something like that). I immediately thought of the iPod and all this new touch screen talk.

    Gimme a new iPod, gimme a touch screen computer…but PLEASE gimme a smudge-free surface too!

  2. And another “brilliant” idea…why not make the new video iPod aluminum on the back…just like the Nano and Shuffle??? Brilliant!! Smudge Free!! Come on Steve!

    We all know you like the shiny metal on the back, but Steve…spare us the continued effort to clean finger prints.

    There. I’m done ranting. Time to get back to work. (sigh)

  3. “I was in Home Depot the other day shopping for a new fridge when I came across a “fingerprintless” metal surface. I think it is titanium (or something like that).”

    Actually, it’s a radioisotope. That wasn’t a Burn CD or DVDs icon on the warning sticker. Sorry, dude.

  4. in my opinion apple should started now to reinvent the printer and scanner,start to making a seft-powered firewire scanner that can be put on the top of the printer and then make a multifuncional at the same time,the printer is usb and as got usb power with the airport extreme,both printer and scanner can be separated and can join together in one at the same time,no need for software,just plug and play.

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