back to article Miniature Apple display spotted in the wild

Today's wild-ass rumor: Apple is planning to place a 9cm2 LCD display into, well, nobody knows. A blog post on the Chinese-language fanboi site Apple.pro entitled "iWatch U !!! ?" is the source of this speculation-inducing tidbit — and we thank MacRumors for starting us off on our hunt to track down the original poster. (If …

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  1. mlo0352
    Thumb Down

    Meh

    Seems interesting, but who cares...speculating on Apple's crap is ridiculous. It's all anybody does.

    1. Ted Treen
      FAIL

      Oxymoron?

      "Seems interesting, but who cares"

      If it's interesting, someone cares.

      More "Hey. Look at me. I'm too cool to care about Apple stuff" from one who apparently puts the "moron" in "oxymoron".

  2. Tristan Young

    Headband LCD display

    Definitely a headband LCD display.

    You slap one of these suckers on your mate, and you can watch x-files while doin' it missionary (or any face-to-face position).

    Connect it to your PS3, and extend your bedroom fun to include streaming videos, games, and more, all from the comforts of your favorite positions.

  3. MacRat
    Jobs Halo

    New Laptop Trackpad

    Why limit the trackpad to clicks and gestures?

    Now have a user defined control space.

    1. Def Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: New Laptop Trackpad

      Why stop at just the track pad? Why not have a second screen instead of a keyboard that shows relevent controls for the currently active app (with a space for user-controlled custom hot keys).

      (And before you cry about tactile feedback, I think I figured out how to do that in a way that wont feel like a Spectrum if anyone wants to invest...)

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Probably is a trackpad prototype

      The long cables imply that it connects to something large like a laptop. Two complex cables implies two separate functions. There's a colored pattern on the screen that's too chunky for pixels but they could be light interference from touch sensing conductive films.

      A visual trackpad sounds very cool but it would be useless without a new GUI paradigm. I doubt Apple wants so many GUIs at once - Mouse/Keyboard, Keyboard with gesture pad, Keyboard with visual gesture pad, iPhone/iPad, and iPod.

      1. . 3

        Possibly a touch interface

        Agree that the flexi printed conenctors are long, though they could simply be designed to wrap around the PCB underneath should their destination happen to be situated in an inconvenient location. They also have the advantage of reduced risk of damage via being stressed during assembly.

        The lower cable could easily be for the backlight however. As the LED current is not transmitted though the glass, it may be better to have that circuit entirely separate, especially if the power supply for it is situated well away from whatever generates the picture data (as on the Sony PSP for example).

        Lastly, the picture data bus appears to be serial. Given the apparent large pixel count, that would make for a pretty slow frame rate, so I would guess this is not meant to display video, but rather static annunciators.

  4. heyrick Silver badge

    It is for a belt clasp.

    You know you're übercool if you can carry advertising on your iBelt.

  5. Colossus
    Alert

    Now I remember ...

    ... It was Apricot Computers that did it, in 1983. Well, in the commercial world, anyway.

    The military had been using something even better (sorta touch screen, but without the actual "touch") for at least a decade before that!

  6. J. Cook Silver badge
    Boffin

    Hmmm...

    I'm thinking a prototype for something that never got out of the lab. You'll note the 2009 copyright on the connector lead, yes?

    A08 sometimes also refers to firmware revisions (Dell is a notable example of this) or possibly prototype versions- but that's idle speculation.

  7. Colossus
    Alert

    Been done before, a lot

    > "How about installing it in an upgraded keyboard, where it could be a context-aware or user-definable hotkey for launching apps, controlling media, displaying system stats, flicking through slideshows of the kids, or the like..."

    Not exactly a new idea. Someone (can't remember who) had something similar way back in the mid-80s, although I don't think it was touch-screen. I designed and built a prototype one of those (it even used a small LCD display) for exactly that purpose in the late-80s as a University project. Wrote my own operating system for it 'n' all. Of course it was buggy as hell and broke frequently, so it never went anywhere ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a new idea, no.

      But the MP3 player wasn't a new idea when the iPod was launched. Smartphones weren't a new idea when the iPhone was launched. Tablet computing wasn... you get the idea.

      Apple has a very canny habit of taking ideas other people have come up with, and making them marketable.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    I say fake

    It looks like faint bands of red, green and blue are visible on the photo. I counted 17 bands, that gives a vertical resolution of... 17 pixels? Seems too small to be useful for something hi-tech.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Here we go again

    Small leak here, little hint there and before you know it everyone will be buying this new gadget thats the best thing since the last guy that made it...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How big is it?

    You say it's 3cm^2 or 1.2in^2 which are not the same area. Presumably you meant 9cm^2 or 1.4in^2.

    English is a bit confusing here. Three centimetres squared equals nine square centimetres and cm^2 is read as square centimetres.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: How big is it?

      Oops!

      Thanks for the catch - and also to everyone else who spotted this howler.

  11. Aaron Em

    'Deep inside the throat' - 'Deep Throat'?

    Perhaps someone's been reading their recent US political dirty-tricksery history, or is just an X-Files fan (God knows why), and is obliquely referring to some clandestine source at Apple who either gave them the screen directly, or tipped them off where to look for it.

    No idea what "code A08" might be, though.

  12. Tron

    I'm trying very hard to care, but...

    Touch screen for an iPad printer.

    Because Steve doesn't like buttons.

    Maybe it's an internal technology. A replacement touchscreen for the condom machine in the bogs of Apple's HQ?

  13. Joey

    To be used in pairs...

    iGoogles anyone?

    1. Baskitcaise

      Or..

      Stereoscopic 3D TV goggles?

  14. Richard Tobin

    Perhaps

    It's to go on the front of the new Apple TV box, displaying tiny pictures of album covers.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only interesting thing...

    ...is that whenever Apple have new hardware or software, or there is a new Linux distro, El Reg are slavering and drooling all over it.

    Oh wait, I just realised that's because everything by Microsoft is complete crap.

  16. rahul
    Jobs Halo

    On-remote display for AppleTV

    I vote for an on-remote display for the remote for an AppleTV item. You can watch the main channel on the big screen, and surf your remote looking for interesting stuff to switch to.

  17. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    Apples 'security' continues to leak

    Jobs will be getting worked up again about 'theft' of his products. Fortunately he won;t be getting his local gendarmes to do anything about this product pre-release.

    Likely it is genuine as the PCB has an Apple logo and obviously is not a development component.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks like someone

    has been taking things they should not, i am sure they will get into trouble over it.

  19. Eddy Ito

    Apple mood ring or

    To animate the Apple logo on the cover of laptops... pac man style of course.

  20. Alan Firminger

    Error

    Someone should explain why the label, which is essential for the story, is missing in the upper picture.

    It is a prank.

    1. Joe 3
      FAIL

      Are you sure?

      Keep looking, genius!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Imote?

    Hmm..

    Maybe a universal remote control that "learns" complex gestural interface commands so the user can control multiple functions (normally needing a dozen or so button presses) with a single command..

    Just a thought.

    AC, because I don't want a visit from the IPolice..

  22. ratfox Silver badge

    I would say a back screen

    The kind you can use on Nokia(?) phones to know if you are taking a picture of yourself or of the ceiling with the phone camera.

    ...Except that now that the iPhone has a front camera, it seems kind of useless. For taking high-quality pictures of you, maybe? (the back camera is better than the front one, right?)

    Of course, it is also more useful on flip-open phones, because it acts as an outside screen when the phone is closed. Maybe Apple will have flip-open iPhones, now?

    A touch pad might just be possible, but not a track pad - way too small for the appletastic pinch-and-sweep moves.

    There is also a good chance that it is a prototype that will never see the day.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Logitech Keyboard

    I have one. Ugly or not, having that little LCD screen is incredibly useful. As are all the extra buttons. I assume from your comment, you agree. I'd love to see more keyboards with these features.

  24. Daniel 1

    Maybe it's for displaying matrix codes?

    A 2D bar code display system, for use on hand held passkey systems, or for use in some sort of verifiable data-exchange, where a visual checksum is needed?

  25. Daniel 1

    In fact...

    Whose to say its a display, at all? It could be a matrix of miniaturised photodetectors, making this an input device, not an output device.

  26. Eddie Edwards
    WTF?

    Er

    Don't several suppliers already provide even smaller LCDs?

    1. Daniel 1

      Certainly

      But the question is what will they use it for, not whether it is an amazing design breakthrough.

      In fact, it looks rather crude, for its dimensions, which is why I'm inclined to think it is intended for machine-data exchange, rather than human user interaction. Indeed, a simple light-emitting display, coupled to software at the scanning end, that was programmed to look for it, could greatly increase the range at which a 2D bar code, for instance, could be identified and read, using fairly low quality camera feeds. Recognisable variations in baud rate at the transmitter would be a typical means of making the signal distinguishable over large distances and poor quality feeds - which would, again, explain why you'd have it as a separate display output on your device.

      Go to website - flash handset at web cam - log in.

      Go to checkout - flash handset at security camera - authorise transaction

      So, there you have it: that's my suggestion. Rampant commercialism, seamlessly integrated with a surveillance society, and built into a high street product, at the behest of Steve Jobs... I'm sure that's control-freaky enough to whet the appetites of both opposing poles (or should that be 'proles'), in this typically bi-polar debate.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Fanboi's of the World

    <\ maybe it could sit on the outside of a MacBook lid, where — when the MacBook is closed — it could display various system parameters, a clock, battery condition, or even email subject lines as messages arrive./>

    you can be assured that from the apple view point, when implemented as MS sideshow it would have been the lamest design and function point ever.... However, if implemented as an Apple function it would be inspired, innovative, game changing, paradigm shifting genius!

    Paris, as thats a sure fire way of implementing multiple interface support for enhanced user satisfaction

    PS: I use the 'fanboi' spelling as it appears to wind up both fanoi's and grammar pedants - bazinga

  28. OffBeatMammal

    TV Remote

    my bet is for an upmarket TV Remote a bit like the fancy remote that the SlimServer Duet has

    http://www.logitech.com/en-us/speakers-audio/wireless-music-systems/devices/3817

    (Oh my God Logitech ... what have you done to the old SlimDevices website. that new site is a monstrosity)

  29. justkyle
    Troll

    Ok, Ok, I'll bite...

    New iPod (touch or video)?

    New iPad jr?

    finally a Mac OS X based netbook?

    Odds are the first, not the last. I mean, what we need are more iPods to choose from!

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