Apple’s Next Best Product? Apple is Patenting a New Hybrid Next-Level Control Device

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By Precious Silva | July 12, 2013 1:13 PM EST

Something is brewing in apple as reports cite a sighting of a patent application under the company's name at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patent hints Apple's working on a hybrid device with an external touchpad and built-in initial sensors. The new device offers people a wide range of motion functions - could this be Apple's next best product?

The Patent Office released on Thursday what happens to be the "Hybrid Inertial and Touch Sensing Input Device" from Apple. The filing reveals some great features including conventional input devices such as trackballs, mice and trackpads. And they are all in one product.

Normally, computer mice come with an optical sensor. The track wheels or the track ball will control the cursor onscreen. Trackpards utilize capacitive signals distributed throughout a specified area to monitor motion. This is similar to the multitouch unit found on the Macbook line of Apple.

Other kinds of devices usually have inertial sensors and accelerometers for movement detection. After the sensors detect the movement, the computer displays the action onscreen. Often, these types of input design and process have their negative and positive aspects.

The advantages and disadvantages depend on their design.

The patent language noted, "most, if not all, conventional input devices are inadequate in tracking both large and fine motions." Examples include inertia-based inputs. They are great for tracking wide range of motions. However, they cannot track as many movements. Trackpads, on the other hand, are better when creating fine motion ranges. Users have to exert more effort if they want to move the cursor onscreen compared with a mouse.

Although device drivers can offer solution using software, the patent application from Apple provides a hardware solution. The patent features both a touchpad for fine applications and a motion sensor for wider control and sensor needs. Apple combines two processes for better touch control.

The hybrid application filing was cited initially back in 2012. The filing reveals Farshid Hashimi as the inventor.

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