“The latest patent filing from Apple Inc. hints at a next-generation multi-touch ‘surface’ that would combine typing, pointing, scrolling, and handwriting capabilities into a single ergonomic design aimed at replacing traditional input devices such as the keyboard, mouse, and drawing tablet,” AppleInsider reports.

“Like last week’s filing for an advanced multi-touch trackpad, the concepts outlined in the massive 80-page document are partially credited to Wayne Westerman of Fingerworks, a company absorbed by Apple several years ago as part of its quest to deliver iPhone and a new generation of input devices,” AppleInsider reports.

“The filing, submitted four times on July 30, 2007 with varying title descriptions, calls for a generic device that tightly integrates yet clearly distinguishes the different types of input without providing excess strain or muscle movement,” AppleInsider reports.

“‘It should therefore appear modeless to the user in the sense that the user should not need to provide explicit mode switch signals such as buttonpresses, arm relocations, or stylus pickups before switching from one input activity to another,’ Westerman wrote. ‘Epidemiological studies suggest that repetition and force multiply in causing repetitive strain injuries. Awkward postures, device activation force, wasted motion, and repetition should be minimized to improve ergonomics,'” AppleInsider reports.

“Therefore, the multi-touch creator explained that an ideal implementation of his concept calls for multi-touch surface apparatus which is both compliant and contoured to be comfortable and ergonomic under extended use,” AppleInsider reports. “It would ‘provide tactile key or hand position feedback without impeding [a] hand resting on the surface or smooth, accurate sliding across the surface.'”

Much more in the full article, including more patent app illustrations, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “RadDoc” and “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]