Via a recently published patent application (discovered by Patently Apple), we find that Apple may put a ‘rotary input’ add-on for its hardware. According to the patent, this spinning wheel will allow you to do things like zoom in on text, lock or unlock your device, adjust volume and scroll through pages.
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And it’s a terrible idea.
The Digital Crown on the Watch does most of what is described in the patent, but it’s necessary; such a small screen needs outside influence to be as good as it is. You can just use your finger or on-screen settings on buttons an iPad or iPhone to accomplish most of what’s described in the patent.
Further, Apple’s patent describes a device that also has a ‘slider’ and ‘button’ on the sides, meaning the rotary input will be appended to the hardware. I’d rather see it take the place of everything if it were going to be included on iPhones and iPads.
One rotary input to rule them all, I say. But like most patents, this will probably remain intellectual property rather than something we see in our day-to-day lives any time soon.