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Apple's multi-touch trackpad plans revealed

The patent reveals how combinations of fingers and thumbs could be used to cut and paste

A patent application in the US has revealed how Apple could soon be packing a whole new range of finger commands that'll take the MacBook Air multi-touch trackpad to an entirely new level.

The patent reveals that Apple considers the MacBook Air's multi-touch capabilities as "basic", before going on to propose how an "advanced" multi-touch system would work.The application claims the sensors in an advanced multi-touch system would be able to distinguish between combinations of fingers, both adjacent and non-adjacent.

Finger bob

The patent also claims that the advanced sensor would tell the difference between a thumb, an index finger and a pinky – opening up the opportunity to assign specific tasks to pinky swipes and the like.

What's really clever though is how the range of gestures could be combined to serve really quite advanced functions, such as cutting and pasting, or select all. Naturally, users would also be able to customise the computer's responses to various combinations via a series of drop-down menus.

The only problem we can see with an advanced system will be trying to remember all the various combinations of fingers, thumbs and pinkys.