Apple has always been able to spot promising new technologies, often already used by others, and to use them to create new products with tremendous mass-market appeal. If you’ll recall, Apple was not the first to create a highly capable touch-screen smartphone that could be navigated with a finger. LG had beat Apple to the game with its Prada cell phone. But it was Apple’s iPhone, offering some of the same functionality, that’s captured popular imagination.
That makes me wonder if Apple could next do something with the coolest innovation in touch screens today: see-through dial pads. LG just introduced its GD900, a phone with a transparent keypad that can also function as a mouse. You slide your finger around the keypad to move the cursor.
The technology seems to be the perfect solution for Apple. Many of its iPhone users in the U.S. are asking the company for a physical Qwerty keyboard. But CEO Steve Jobs has repeatedly said that the company will never release anything as mundane as a physical keyboard. The see-though keypad seems to be a solution that could satisfy both parties. On one hand, haptic feedback the keypad offers should make the experience similar to typing on a regular keyboard. On the other hand, Jobs & Co. will have harnessed a cool new technology to get there. Would you buy a device with a see-though keypad? Would it improve the iPhone experience for you?