Apple looks to take Multi-Touch™ to next level

“When it was first introduced in January 2007, iPhone’s Multi-Touch interface was a real breakthrough in operation of small portable devices,” Unwired View reports.

“Now, if the ideas sketched out in a new Apple patent application “Multitouch data fusion” are implemented, we may soon see another qualitative leap in the usability of user interfaces in various computing devices,” Unwired View reports.

“Multi-Touch interface is perfectly good for many of the device control and operation functions. But on-screen 2D object manipulation has some inherent limitations too, and there are quite a few actions that can be done better by other input means. And electronic devices that use MT, usually have quite a few of these other input means. That can include cameras, microphones, accelerometers, biometric sensors, temperature sensors, etc.,” Unwired View reports.

“What Apple is proposing in it’s patent app, is to fuse these secondary input means with Multi-Touch to improve the overall user interface,” Unwired View reports. “And it gives quite a few examples of how to do that.”

• Fusing voice input and Multi-Touch™
• Combining Multi-Touch™ and motion sensor data
• Marrying force sensors and Multi-Touch™
• Fusing Multi-Touch™ with visual input from device camera
• Combining gaze vector data with Multi-Touch™ gestures

Unwired View reports, “These are just a few of the possibilities described in patent app. Some of them, like facial expression/MT combination may be pretty far off. But many others, like voice input/MT, motion sensors/Multi-Touch, visual data/MT fusion are technically feasible already.”

Much more, including patent app illustrations, here.

[Attribution: Gizmodo. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “RadDoc” for the heads up.]


  1. Where’s my holographic computer?? I think it, it does it. That’s what I want to know!

    In the meantime, looks like we’ll be dealing with HAL 9000. As long as we don’t get into the Terminator/Skynet/Borg mode, I’m cool with it.

    Olmecmystic ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Touch is inherently limited. Great for some thing, ballz for everything else. I don’t see how adding voice or any of the other options mentioned will improve it much (aside from the ones that don’t work and probably won’t for well over a decade at the soonest). It works fine for portable devices like the iPod touch, but not for real computing. Long live the mouse and keyboard!

    P.S. Apple really needs to add bluetooth to the iPod touch and develop a small external bluetooth keyboard for iPhone/iPod touch.

  3. @unbeliever

    a bluetooth keyboard for an iphone and ipod touch??

    not sure about that one.

    my 2 cents

    i have grown to almost prefer the multi touch keyboard. but thats just me, and i am trilingual so the language changing is great. i don’t need to buy multiple keyboards for native use.

    i wouldn’t mind a multi touch full size keyboard, that switches keys according to the language i use, or even softare.

  4. The first ‘victim’ of this innovation would be Pissysters. Sure, OS X can be command line driven like any UNIX, but that’s not what for the common consumers. How are the cloners going to match the multi-touch interface on their commodity hardware?

  5. @Peruchito

    Not everyone may want/need such a feature, but you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think it’s important to many people. I’ve seen multiple people decide against an iPod touch because, although it is superior to old-style PDA’s in every other way, it has no Bluetooth and no bluetooth keyboard to make typing easier. Palm had it, PocketPC had it, etc… Apple is probably afraid it will detract from their “Multitouch on screen keyboard is all you need” mantra, but the fact is, for large amounts of typing done fast and efficiently, something larger and easier to use than the on-screen keyboard is needed. Many people who can type 80WPM+ on a full sized keyboard can only do a small fraction of that on the iPod/iPhone keyboard. Heck, just having comma/period/apostrophe on the same page as the letters would be a HUGE improvement… not to mention numbers and other punctuation.

  6. shouldn’t voice have already been a part of the iPhone’s user interface? hopefully apple has just waited this long so that they could perfect the voice command technology… i know it’s been on macs since the original iMac days.

  7. Don’t know why everyone always thinks that just because company x files for patent application y that it means they are also developing a product that utilizes the patent features. Some times patent applications are just filed for purely defensive reasons with not intention of marketing the claimed invention in some product.

  8. Gaze Vector data

    Something to go with the HMD?
    Just think how nice looking an Apple/Johnnie designed head mounted display / glasses will be. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool hmm” style=”border:0;” />

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