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A View from Brad King

Apple's Latest Mobile Touch Screen Patent

Apple’s latest patent filing, a detailed outline of a new touch screen for mobile computing, could affect the entire industry.

  • July 21, 2006

I love my Treo 650 for many reasons: it’s powerful enough to carry all the information I need; it’s able to connect easily to the Web; and it’s constantly updating news from a variety of global sources. The best reason, though, is that it’s all at the touch of my fingertips. Or, more accurately, my right thumb.

The user interface on the Palm Treo is such that, with just a small learning curve, I can find any information or use any application simply by navigating the menu with a small circular control panel. I’ve never understood why other companies haven’t followed suit with this elegant user design, particularly as smart phones become more commonplace. (I tested a half-dozen or so new phones several months ago when I wrote “The Small Screen”.)

The only device, as far as I’ve heard, that comes close to mimicking that navigation is Apple’s iPod line. As readers of this blog know, I’m not a huge fan of Apple as a company because of their wildly restrictive views on intellectual property and copyright (see “Apple – A Tragic Love Story”), but I’ve always agreed that their interface designs are first-rate. It’s hard to argue with their success in that realm, and if everyone else followed their lead, people would have a much easier time navigating the digital world.

So, it’s exciting that we may soon see a new touch-screen interface design for next-generation iPods, according to this post at Apple Insider, which lays out an Apple patent filing for such a touch-screen interface for mobile computing.

According to MacRumors.com, this is the latest in a long line of touch-screen filings by the company, which, says Endgadget.com, were originally designed as a computer interface.

And if the company is moving forward on a new interface design for its devices, it’s not hard to imagine that the future of the smart mobile device will be the better for it, since other companies will rush to follow suit.

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