Apple’s next iPhone may offer users the ability to control music playback without having to look at the screen, a new patent filing suggests.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted the iGiant a patent for “playback control using a touch interface” that registers a series of touch gestures even when the screen is switched off.
The inputs include a single tap to play or pause music, double tap to play the next track, triple tap to play previous track, as well as double tap and hold to fast forward and triple tap and hold to rewind.
Gestures inspired by the iPod Classic’s click wheel will also be supported. Users will be able to make a clockwise circle to increase volume and swipe counter-clockwise to reduce it.
The patent summary states: “To allow a user to control media playback using a touch sensing device without requiring the selection of displayed options, the electronic device can include a mode or configuration for which the touch sensing device can sense touch events, but not display any content on a display.”
The gestures would be a boon for runners and save battery life too. They’d also give the next iPhone some much-needed ammunition to contest the soon-to-land Samsung Galaxy S4, which introduces an array of gesture and motion-based controls, including the ability to scroll content by simply tilting the device or waving your hand over the screen.
Apple is hotly tipped to launch its seventh-generation iPhone – the unofficially dubbed iPhone 5S – in late June.