Apple Patents Show Front-Facing Cam, "Rocking" Mouse
A patent application made by Apple in 2008 gives yet another indication that Apple planned or still plans to release a device with a camera that faces the user. In another filing, Apple applied for a patent on technology that would detect mouse movements in three dimensions - pitch, roll, and yaw - to allow for new user interface controls.
The camera hint was revealed in a patent that covers new ways for devices to detect and correct differences between sensing components. Titled “Apparatus and Method for Compensating for Variations in Digital Cameras,” the application notes that different pieces of camera equipment are manufactured separately and that lens thickness, color response, and other characteristics vary widely, leading to inconsistent results. Apple's technology would enable the device to test its own camera and adjust for the differences.
The image used to illustrate the technology shows a handheld device with a front-facing camera. The lack of such a camera on the iPad disappointed observers, but a repair company's inspection of iPad parts showed an empty space in the bezel
that is perfectly fitted to the iSight camera used in the MacBook line. Reports before the iPad's release indicated that Apple was working on innovative video technology for the new device, including the ability to automatically recognize
A second patent application, reviewed by the Patently Apple weblog
, details a mouse with a convex bottom so that it can be moved in three dimensions without lifting it from the desk. The mouse has motion sensors that would allow the computer to detect whether the mouse is tilting forward or back (pitch), side to side (roll), or clockwise/counterclockwise (yaw). In a novel way that Patently Apple
called "so simple, that it's brilliant," users will be able to manipulate screen graphics with intuitive mouse moves; tilting the mouse would control horizontal or vertical scrolling, and twisting it would rotate items on the screen.
image via Patently Apple