RUMOR: Apple’s 4G iPhone to feature multi-touch-sensitive case; like Magic Mouse on back of iPhone

January Clearance Blowout ends 1/14“Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone will probably be available as early as June, include a more advanced [5-megapixel] camera, and may feature a touch-sensitive casing, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst Robert Chen said in an interview, without identifying who gave him the information,” Tim Culpan and Stephen Engle report for Bloomberg.

“‘Apple’s going to put a lot of innovation, not just on the hardware, but also on the software of the new iPhone,’ said Taipei-based Chen, a member of Asia’s top-ranked technology hardware research team,” Culpan and Engle report. “The handset will feature a new plastic casing similar to that used for Apple’s touch-panel Magic Mouse released last year, he said.”

Culpan and Engle report, “Magic Mouse, a computer mouse released in October, has a touch-sensitive solid plastic shell that replaces mechanical buttons. The technology may be replicated in the new iPhone to offer touch-sensitive features on the rear of the handset, Chen said.”

Full article here.

28 Comments

  1. Actually in terms of touch on the back I can see a very cool application… game controls. Right now the biggest pain is that with your fingers on the screen you lose some view, but if on the back could work. You don’t have to see the controls, slide a finger on your left hand left, you move left, right you move right.. could be cool

  2. @Johnny

    And how exactly would you hold the phone?

    Not to mention I already have enough trouble accidentally flipping the silent switch, if all i had to do was “touch” it to make it silent that would be hell.

  3. @Troy & MAC_kid

    Turn the mouse over and run the ball over a plain, white piece of paper in all directions keeping an eye on the screen. That’ll fix it. Keeping your hands clean when using it also helps.

  4. There’s the new (Samsung?) BackFlip phone at CES that has this feature. It actually looks like an interesting feature: instead of your hands covering up the screen, you’re able to scroll and move through photos and album covers by swiping the *back* of the phone.

    Seems gimmicky and I’m not sure Apple would do it, but they might. I like the idea of the whole back of the case supporting it, rather than just one narrow area like the BackFlip.

  5. @JES42

    Yep, I use the LCD screen cloth for that purpose. Fixes them every time.

    Yes, clean hands. Can’t tell you how sloppy some users are. Don’t even want to touch their mouse.
    I loved the previous clear keyboards, I could just point to them and see all the food crumbs the users got in them and lay the blame on their stupid eating and unclean hand habits.

  6. It’s for the tablet and it will make the screen virtually transparent while you interface. This makes a lot of sense to me for a two handed ui. If this were combined with the screen side touchyou could do even more. The value is that your fingers get out of the way. Genius,

  7. So the logic is: “Apple’s Magic Mouse has a plastic casing, the new iPhone has a plastic casing, therefore…” Not buying it.

    How about a new MDN Poll: “Should Al Gore’s picture remain on the MDN site?”

  8. @JES42

    Yeah, and if we have gestures on the back that will call for more fingerprints and smudge of course if the front isn’t enough! Keep some good cleaners on hand. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> There are some in the apple store and you can get iKlenz that is good online.

  9. If this idea materializes, I would be afraid the whole thing would become very “finger gesture happy”, with which I mean: where can one safely leave one’s fingers just to hold the iPhone, without it falsely detecting touch commands?

    @alex

    FYI, having a touch sensitive back doesn’t deprive one from visual feedback, because the software can just echo whatever you are doing with your fingers on the screen that you are watching. Knowing Apple’s expertise in GUI, I wouldn’t be too worried about this aspect.

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