Thursday, July 27, 2006

Apple Ponders a Touchless iPod

The RED HERRING reports that "speculation arose this week about the possibility of a touchless version of Apple’s (APPL) ubiquitous media player. According to filings in the United States Patent Office, Apple has filed for a patent on technology for an interface that doesn’t need to be touched, keeping it free from fingerprints and accompanying germs. The application was filed last September but was published late last week."

The article states "the interface—called a “proximity detector in handheld device”—looks an awful lot like one that fueled talk earlier this year of a possible Apple tablet PC."

Current Analysis analyst Samir Bhavnani said, “This enables you to have a larger screen, but maintain a small-form format. I’ve seen pictures about what a device like this would look like.”

Bhavnani cautioned against taking overly enthusiastic inferences from the applications. “What you have to remember is, many patents are filed that never see the light of day." He noted, “Apple still has a lead position—it would take a copycat six months to one year to put their product on shelves.”