Microsoft has filed a US patent application for a ‘pointing stick’ for its notebook products.
As Patently Apple describes it, the system described in the application is very much like the IBM TrackPoint, a small joystick affixed to a keyboard that allows for mouse or track pad-like pointing and navigation. In Microsoft’s case, the device in question is designed for a future Surface Book.
Notably, Microsoft’s application details how the surface of the pointing stick could feature a fingerprint sensor, allowing for biometric user authentication. That’s in keeping with Microsoft’s recent emphasis on biometric security, with the Windows Hello security system of its Windows 10 OS equipped to enable facial recognition and other modalities; meanwhile, its Surface Pro Type 4 Cover features an embedded fingerprint scanner, perhaps taking a cue from Apple’s Touch ID system.
Apple’s influence may also be seen in the pressure-sensitive capabilities of the pointing stick described in the patent application, which may have been inspired by Apple’s 3D Touch technology. Either way, together with embedded fingerprint authentication, it marks increasingly prominent trends in consumer electronics.
Source: Patently Apple