Apple looks at invisible media player controls for MacBook lids

Apple looks at invisible media player controls for MacBook lids

There’s been enough official Apple news to content with today, what with Facetime going HD, new MacBook Pros and new details about OSX Lion. So, how about some good old-fashioned speculation about the future?

Patently Apple today discusses a patent submitted by the Cupertino company that could see invisible controls for iTunes added to the lids of its notebook computers.

The touch sensitive controls would be invisible most of the time, only revealing themselves when a user’s hand got close to them. These controls could be used to control music or video played from the computer, with functions such as rewind, play, fast forward and volume.

Beyond media player functions, the buttons could used to display system information such as Wi-Fi strength or battery levels. The capacitive proximity sensors used to create the controls could even be used to form a virtual keyboard on a MacBook’s case. This could be useful if you had the computer hooked up to an external monitor and wanted to keep the lid closed. I’ll admit that’s a bit a niche use case, but it would at least be a cool feature to show off.

This is just a patent application, so there’s no guarantee that it will be granted, or that Apple will ever actually implement the idea. Still, it certainly seems like exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to see on a MacBook Pro at some point in the future.

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