A patent by Apple reveals more about what the company may be planning for its touch screen ecosystem.
In a patent filed today, Apple outlines a backside interface for handheld devices. In a nutshell, that means a device could have touch screens on both sides.
One of the surfaces (e.g., the bottom) includes a force-sensitive touch-surface through which a user provides input (e.g., cursor manipulation and control element selection). On a second surface (e.g., the top), a display element is used to present information appropriate to the device's function (e.g., video information), one or more control elements and a cursor. The cursor is controlled through manipulation of the back-side touch-surface. The cursor identifies where on the back-side touch-surface the user's finger has made contact. When the cursor is positioned over the desired control element, the user selects or activates the function associated with the control element by applying pressure to the force-sensitive touch-surface with their finger. Accordingly, the electronic device may be operated with a single hand, wherein cursor movement and control element selection may be accomplished without lifting one's finger.
Unwired View speculates that this touch screen could be applied to an iPhone Nano or next generation iPod. Why stop there though?
As discussed in March, there's a growing contingent of folks that believe the touch screen will be applied to all Apple products. In fact, the innovation contained in the iPhone may drive three to four years of new products. This patent is a step in that direction. As Engadget notes, this patent is quite believable.