Apple Illuminating Touchpads and Clickwheels

According to a patent filed by Apple, the company's MacBook touchpads and signature iPod clickwheel might be in for a very visual overhaul. The proposed technology will allow for both lighting and color responses to user interaction. If Apple follows through with its plans, when you get to use touchpads and clickwheels on next generation products, you might get a bit of a show.

While most of it sounds fairly cosmetic, the idea of a touchpad that glows brighter with more pressure, follows around tactile input by the user, and changes color sounds pretty damn cool to us, and helps make things more intuitive on the user's end. The 34 page patent outlines the plans which sound like anything from an LCD touchscreen to a traditional touchpad backlit with LEDs. From the patent:

By way of example, it may be desirable to provide visual stimuli at the touch pad so that a user can better operate the touch pad. For example, the visual stimuli may be used (among others) to alert a user when the touch pad is registering a touch, alert a user where the touch is occurring on the touch pad, provide feedback related to the touch event, indicate the state of the touch pad, and/or the like.

Hopefully we'll actually see these ideas put to good use, rather than just a patent blocking others from using it. [US Patent Office via AppleInsider]