Technical Reviews

Apple’s Vision Pro May Support Virtual Trackpad in the Future

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Apple’s Vision Pro relies a lot on sensors and cameras to enable advanced tracking of hands and fingers for controls. It also uses a virtual keyboard as an input. But what was missing when the device was introduced was an option to use a trackpad or mouse as a pointer when navigating inside the virtual space. Apparently, this feature might only arrive in the future and would require a finger-worn accessory.

How Apple may enable a virtual trackpad on Vision Pro

As found by Patently Apple, the Cupertino tech company has recently filed a new patent in the USA. From what it appears, this primarily describes the use of a wearable that will be worn by a user on its index finger and to be used in tandem with a spatial or virtual trackpad. The latter space is then augmented to the physical environment, such as being positioned on a flat table, similar to how a conventional trackpad is laid out.

Noticeably, it is seen that users can also mimic the function of a real trackpad, which is by having an indicator that represents the status and orientation of the finger and this is presented on a generated monitor or display. But more than the navigation controls, the user can also manipulate virtual icons based on the illustration, like moving one and merging it to a virtual object on the display.

A new patent relating to a virtual trackpad and finger device paired to Apple Vision Pro headset
Apple’s new patent showing a finger device and virtual trackpad to be used with the Vision Pro / © Patently Apple

Right now, the patent does look to involve complex implementation on the software side of Vision OS and is very far from what Apple has shown in its marketing materials with basic on-air touch controls and a macOS-like interface. Hence, it’s unlikely that we will be seeing this feature added to the Vision Pro in the near future.

Additionally, the finger device for trackpad use is a thing we haven’t heard or seen yet. However, there was a patent before that relates to a smart ring rather than a jacket type, so it’s likely that Apple is still experimenting with ways for users to navigate the reality space on its headset.

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Which method of control do you prefer using on a VR/XR headset? Are physical controllers better than virtual ones? Share with us your opinion in the comments.

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