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This article was published on July 28, 2016

Apple patent shows a digital crown for iPhones, and it’s a stupid idea

Apple patent shows a digital crown for iPhones, and it’s a stupid idea
Nate Swanner
Story by

Nate Swanner

Former Reporter, TNW

TNW's former West Coast writer in the PNW (Portland, Oregon). Nate loves amplifying developers, and codes in Swift when he's not writing. If TNW's former West Coast writer in the PNW (Portland, Oregon). Nate loves amplifying developers, and codes in Swift when he's not writing. If you need to get in touch, Twitter is your best bet.

Here’s something you probably don’t want: future Apple iOS devices may have a rotary wheel on them, much like the Digital Crown on an Apple Watch.

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.

And it’s a terrible idea.

Apple Watch Time Travel
Credit: Owen Williams

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.