Apple’s Magic Mouse is an interesting accessory for sure, but it could get even more interesting, with the possibility of haptic feedback and force sensors.
The Magic Mouse is one of the more unique computer mice on the market currently, with its curved minimalist design and touchpad surface that does away with an excess number of buttons that you see on most mice today.
However, the Magic Mouse could be getting a nice upgrade soon, according to a patent that was recently filed my Apple.
The patent, which was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, refers to a “Force Sensing Mouse.” This includes a device that comes with small vibrating motors as well as various force pressure sensors that know how hard a user presses down on the mouse buttons. It can also confirm actions by providing feedback through the use of haptic vibrations.
The images provided show the familiar design of Apple’s Magic Mouse, along with some cutouts that show how this new mouse would work.
The stick that you’re seeing that sticks out from the Magic Mouse illustration is apparently a cantilever arm that can bend and flex whenever a user pushes down on the mouse button, thus warping the strain gauge, which will then output a certain voltage to be translated into an input signal.
Pressure sensors in the Magic Mouse could be used as alternatives to the left-click and right-click mouse presses, where a user can soft-press to initiate a “left click,” while a harder press indicates a “right-click.” Feedback vibration motors would be placed inside of the mouse to offer feedback as far as how hard you’re pressing down on the mouse button.
Of course, the little cantilever arm looks a bit goofy, and we’re guessing Apple would never let anything like that fly on a final product, but it could most likely be a prototype or a concept of what the Cupertino-based company is working on.
It’s hard to say when Apple could be releasing a newer mouse for its Mac computers. The Magic Mouse is going on five years old now, and it’s one of Apple’s products that rarely see an update. In fact, Before the Magic Mouse came along, the Mighty Mouse was going on four years old before it was finally replaced.
It’s certainly difficult to predict when we could see a new Apple mouse, but every four or five years seems pretty realistic, which means we’re coming up on a possible refresh of the Magic Mouse, especially with this patent just recently surfacing.
We’re still waiting on a 2014 refresh of the 27-inch iMac, which could come in October along with a new Magic Mouse design, but we’re taking that with a big grain of salt for now. The 21.5-inch iMac was updated earlier over the summer with a few changes, but nothing significant to the point that we wouldn’t be surprised to see another 2014 update.
The current entry-level 27-inch iMac sports a 3.2GHz quad-core Core i5 processor with 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive. There have been hardly any rumors as far as what we could expect out of a new iMac for 2014, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple lowered the price by $100 and tacked on some newer and faster components, although Apple has never been one to lower the price of its 27-inch iMac, so we’re merely crossing our fingers at that prospect.
One of the most recent rumors, however, is that Apple is planning to launch Retina-equipped iMacs in October to coincide with the launch of OS X Yosemite, but we’re also taking that one with a big grain of salt for now.