We generally don’t think about the clips that go on devices. Spring loaded or not, they are there to keep a device on something but not do anything more. A recent Apple patent might just change that with a removable clip that could be a remote, input device, or even a trackpad.
I think we all have to admit that we don’t think too much about things like the clip on an iPod Shuffle—well at least until it breaks—it’s there, it keeps the device clipped to a shirt, jacket, or bag and that’s it. Sure, it does its job—clip—and that’s just dandy. But what if it could do more? What if there were controls or mini keyboards or a trackpad in the clip? What if you could pull the clip off a device and it still do something (instead of just being broken)? That’s what this Apple patent is all about:
In one embodiment, an apparatus includes a body having a bend and a user interface area, a connector adapted to couple to a corresponding connector on an electronic device, and a plurality of conductive elements. The bend enables the user interface area to wrap around a portion of the electronic device when the connector is coupled to the corresponding connector on the electronic device. In another embodiment, a portable electronic system includes a removable user interface and an electronic computing device having a display surface, where the removable user interface is couplable to the electronic computing device such that the removable user interface is disposed over at least a part of the display surface.
Makes a lot of sense to me. I don’t know about some of the trackpad examples, but a little keyboard-like area for tapping a quick note or controlling the music would be cool. Maybe use Bluetooth the clip could slide into a band for your wrist to change music while keeping your iPod safely tucked away.
I think the concept of modular devices is a something that this clip (and I’m sure other Apple patents if we dug through them) suggests. Have something that can you can switch around and pair with different devices at different times. Almost if the clip were its own device that could go from controlling your iPod to your Apple TV to your Macbook (handy presentation remote maybe?).
And a good use of something that has otherwise been neglected in most device designs.