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Saturday, January 14, 2006, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Apple mulled mouse design with rotary dial

In the course of AppleInsider's proprietary investigation into the iPod Hi-Fi and iPod Boombox trademarks, it came upon a patent filed overseas for a unique mouse design that sports a rotary dial.

The application was filed in September of 2002 and likely represents one of the company's initial design attempts at a multi-functional mouse. Apple, which refused to ship a multi-button mouse for over two decades, eventually did finalize a multi-functional, multi-button mouse that it introduced last year as Mighty Mouse.

"Apple


The design of the mouse with rotary dial is credited to Brian Huppi of San Carlos, Calif. In providing a description of the device for the filing, Huppi said, "The rotary dial is configured to provide a control function (or functions) for performing an action (or actions) on a display screen. [...] The control function may be widely varied. For example, the control function may be used to control various applications associated with the computer system to which the mouse is connected."

The description goes on to read, "The rotary dial generally includes a circular face, which is engageable to a user during manipulation thereof. [...] As such, the rotary dial can be continuously rotated by a simple swirling motion of the finger, i.e., the disc can be rotated through 360 degrees of rotation without stopping.