Vision Pro might eventually get a bespoke trackpad, if new patent becomes reality

Vision Pro touchpad patent
(Image credit: Patently Apple)

When Apple revealed the Vision Pro headset, the thing that stood out was its new control method — you swipe around and pinch with your eyes and fingers, in what seemed like something that jumped from the future. No controller was present at all.

Now, in a new patent, it looks like Apple has come up with a new way that we might be able to interact with the headset — and it sounds similarly futuristic, if grounded in familiar principles.

New control method for Vision Pro

As spotted by Patently Apple, Apple has been granted a patent for a new control method for the Vision Pro AR and VR headset. It appears to pertain to a new touchpad, or trackpad, that can interact with apps and games on the goggles — all in a virtual space.

Even more interesting is how this trackpad will integrate into Vision Pro activities. There is talk of holograms and virtual objects superimposed with the accessory, so that it would feel like a part of the app or game that you’re using inside the virtual world of the Vision Pro.

The pad looks like it’s not going to be a physical touch surface itself, but it will project a surface into the digitised world around the user. To work, it’s going to be filled with a series of sensors, including a camera, image sensors, and even orientation sensors so that it’s more aware of its surroundings.

Vision Pro virtual trackpad — iMore’s take

We’re already excited about the Vision Pro, and so each and every new patent and rumor is enough to get us riled up. This control method seems to work hand in hand with the pinch-to-click method that we saw during the Vision Pro keynote presentation at WWDC, and we can see it working well when you use the headset as a display for your MacBook.

It does raise some questions, though. Will it need a physical surface to work properly, or can it be placed in the air, to make for some Minority Report-style mid-air control swipes? How will it interact with games? Even without those questions answered, however, it seems like an interesting new way to use the AR and VR headset. It is only a patent, however, so it might never happen — patents are used to protect a company’s ideas, and don’t necessarily result in a final, purchasable product. But we can always hope.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.