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Illuminated touchpad next big thing for Apple?

August 17, 2012 By:
After introducing gestures in its touchpads, Apple Inc. may be moving toward an “illuminated touchpad” for its devices ranging from the MacBook to its Magic Trackpad.

This was the gist of a new patent that Apple filed in April this year, but was approved only on Thursday, tech site Mashable reported.

“(I)t aims to improve ‘feedback mechanisms for touchpads,’ so when you move your finger across the touchpad’s sensitive surface, an illumination point follows and glows depending on how it’s touched,” Mashable said.

Mashable quoted Apple as saying the technology includes “changing intensity or color based on motion characteristics and/or pressure, providing an illumination point that follows a finger as it is moved about the touch-sensitive surface and showing different states with varying levels of brightness or color.”

Apple also said that while touchpads work well, they could use some “improvements to their form feel and functionality.”

It cited “visual stimuli” at the touchpad so a user can better operate it – such as a leading edge, a body and a trailing edge.

“The leading edge indicates where the object is directed, the body indicates the current location of the object and the trailing edge indicates where the object has been,” it said.

A separate article on CNET said the patent suggests a touchpad that can light up and respond to varying pressure.

“However, before we start counting the days until Apple’s new touchpad technology launches, it should be noted that the company files for boatloads of patents for technologies that never launch,” CNET added. GMA News