Apple has filed a patent for an iPod with a display on top and touch sensitive input on the bottom.
The patent was filed on 5 January this year and states that the screen on handheld devices like the iPod is too small for effective touch control.
“Although a touch-screen interface could be embedded in or overlaid on the display, the use of even a single finger for input may occlude a significant portion of the display or cover more than a single operational control element,” the filing states, as reported by AppleInsider.
“While this problem could be mitigated by limiting the touch area to a portion of the display screen (e.g., the display edges where horizontal or vertical motion could emulate slider controls), a single finger could still cover a substantial amount of the useful display area.”
In order to tackle the problem – and also avoid greasy finger marks on the display – the filing proposes using the underside of the device for input. “A force-sensitive touch-surface is provided on a first or back-side surface of the device through which a user provides input (e.g., cursor manipulation and control element selection/activation),” the company wrote. “On a second or front-side surface, a display element is used to present one or more control elements and a cursor that is controlled through manipulation of the back-side touch-surface.”
The filing states that the software could overlay a click wheel on the display, which corresponds to the area beneath the device where you need to move your finger to operate it.