Apple has filed a patent for several iGloves -- special gloves which work with its touch screen products like the iPhone and iPod Touch  (Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
Apple looks to solve its customers winter woes

Apple can cause a bit of a controversy at times, but it certainly is not short on creative business ideas.  Though it sometimes doesn't give the customers what they want, it does give them a number of unusual products. 

With the internet awash with rumors of an iPhone nano, more concrete details of an upcoming Apple product are also arriving.  Apple has filed a patent for several types of gloves that could allow users to operate its multi-touch devices while wearing gloves in the winter.  The item, sure to be a hot “iPeripheral” in cold weather states, could drop as early as sometime this year.

Anyone who has used touch screens on Apple's iPhone or iPod touch, or have used other touch devices such as the Blackberry Storm or the LG Chocolate phone likely have discovered that the devices do not accept input from hands with gloves.  This is because the touch input actually relies on electric impulses from the users fingers. 

With the immense popularity of the iPhone, America's best selling phone, companies like Dots Gloves, The North Face, and Freehands have all hit the market with solutions, many of which cut away the fingertips of the gloves or offer removable glove fingertips, to allow for touch screen use.

Apple, however, in a recently filed patent application looks to allow the users to keep the gloves on their fingertips.  It outlines several different design possibilities.  The first is a dual shell approach where the inner shell receives the signal and transmits it to an outer conductive shell on the gloves' fingertips.  Another method has a thin inner conducting shell, with a removable cap outer shell.  Finally a third method, similar to the second, has an elastic ring at the fingertip, which pushes away the outer shell when pressure is applied, revealing the inner conductive shell.

Steve Jobs may be credited for inventing the iPhone, according to the filed patents, but the credit for these unique gloves goes to Apple's Ashwin Sunder and Steven Hotelling.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received the patent June 28th, 2007, and officially released it to the public this week.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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