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Apple Patents iPhone Clamshell & iTablet Designs

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With a 3G iPhone guaranteed (and most likely heading for June unveiling) it's interesting to see where Apple's thoughts are turning...
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This week sees the company file an intriguing patent for a candybar iPhone. Shown above in all its natty glory and in a beautifully rendered artist's impression courtesy of Unwired View, the design could signal a radical change of direction for the iconic handset.

Dubbed the 'Dual Sided Trackpad' the system would create two multi-touch input areas which would broaden the interface allowing the main screen to be kept free, perhaps to capitalise on the gaming aspect recently seen with the SDK. Interestingly, the patent says both sides of the cover/trackpad can be controlled at the same time while the angle of the two screens can be an influence too.
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Apple seemingly has far reaching plans for this approach as well with a second set of drawings hinting at an Apple tablet manipulated in a similar way. No physical keyboard is present and a virtual keyboard would be used instead along with context sensitive controls. Meanwhile a final design mocks up a Sideshow-style display with a mini LCD on the exterior of the laptop for showing vital information such as new email alerts and music controls.

Naturally, at this point it is wise to swallow the usual mouthfuls of NaCl to quell excitement overload.

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