A recently published U.S. patent application shows Apple may be working on a new handheld touch sensitive input device. The application states "touch sensing devices may for example be selected from touch panels, touch screens or touch sensitive housings." The application, numbered 20060197750, was originally filed on April 26, 2005.
The multi-touch sensor device includes to sensor areas over different parts of a display. In some cases, on the same face of the device, and in other cases on the front and back of the device. The device can also display some type of visual feedback when the sensors register a touch.
The patent shows multiple touch sensors.
The touch sensitive interface described in the patent application looks appropriate for devices where control button space is at a premium - like a new iPod model that does away with the Click Wheel in favor of an on-screen interface, an Apple phone with a secondary display on the backside, a multi-function iPod-like device, and even a tablet-style Mac.