A newly published Apple patent details a hybrid input device that brings together features of conventional input devices such as trackpads, mice and trackballs in to one package. Such a peripheral will offer enhanced control options for the device it is connected to.
Called “Hybrid Inertial and Touch Sensing Input Device,” the patent describes that this peripheral would use all of these different features to offer better control options. If we consider mice, trackpads and trackballs on their own, all of them have cons as well. For example a user would be required to put in more effort to move the cursor across a display through a trackpad as opposed to doing the same with a mouse. On the other hand, trackpads are good at reproducing fine ranges of motion, which can not be done through a mouse. That’s why Apple says in its patent that, if not all, most conventional input devices are inadequate in tracking “both large and fine motions.”
The peripheral that Apple has detailed in its patent will contain both, a touchpad and a motion sensor, which will be used to calculate acceleration and velocity as well as positioning data. This data is collected so as to determine the output signal, which in effect will be reproduced on the screen by a cursor. The device itself will intelligently be able to determine which of the data from either the motion or touch sensor it needs to use for the output process.
This patent was filed back in 2012. As is the case with patented technologies, there’s no saying if they will ever see the light of day. We know that Apple is working on a lot of interesting technologies such as this hybrid input device. One can only hope to see those technologies being implemented in consumer electronic devices.