Although Apple’s touch input set up is nothing short of perfection, the Cupertino giant is looking to add another layer of exquisiteness with its new patent, received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office titled “Fine-tuning an operation based on tapping” (via AppleInsider).
The patent describes a mode of mobile device gesture input that turns taps detected on non-touchscreen surfaces, like the side of an iPhone, into granular on-screen controls. For example, an accelerometer and gyroscope on the right side of an iPhone could detect a small nudge and move an object, such as a graphic or text in a document, to the left by one pixel or maybe more.
This could be the case with the sensors on the right as well. The system would also be sensitive enough to detect the force of the nudge.
Although Apple’s virtual magnification loupe is far better in comparison to other platforms while selecting fine single characters o the screen, it has not been so precise. With this patent, it could be possible to select a single character just by swiping over the non touch screen part of your phone.
The patent also details on input magnitudes like stronger taps move objects greater distances while lighter taps would move the cursor a single pixel or character ahead.
There’s no telling when we could see a nudge gesture system in an Apple device, but it’s just another way the company wants to give its customers more ways to interact with its phones without necessarily changing the look and feel of the hardware.
Apple’s patent for fine UI manipulation through tap gestures was first filed for in January 2013 and credits Maxim Tsudik as its inventor.