Apple’s Input Device Alternatives

Brian Christiansen

August 14th, 2007

Our friend Luke Wroblewski has written a fun post on his blog, Functioning Form – Apple’s Input Device Alternatives, documenting a number of Human-Computer Interface patents Apple has filed at the US Patent Office in recent years. There are 11 ideas in all, all regarding the way a human physically interacts with a computing device, dating back to 2004. You’ll see a number of similarities to Apple’s current products–there are two that are clearly used in the iPhone–a few expand upon other existing ideas, and some that aren’t seen on any product on the market. For example,

Apple mechanical overlay

A mechanical overlay can be an audio equalizer, musical keyboard, or video game controller that provides touch inputs to a sensing pad.

An interesting occurance, Luke has a database of quotes that magically appear on his blog posts, the one that happened to display while I was reading this article was particularly fitting to its context:

‘It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.’
—Steve Jobs, 1998

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