A patent application published today by the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple has designed very functional, wearable device clip. Patently Apple highlighted the application, which was first filed in 2011.

Along with being a simple magnetic clip on a portable device, the technology would feature tactile buttons or a transparent glass touchpad. The clip could control the device while attached or remotely:

In one embodiment, the user interface may be configured to operate as a clip, thereby enabling the electronic computing device to be removably attached to an object such as a person’s clothing. The user interface may also be operable to receive user inputs (via, e.g., a touch pad) and thereby control an electronic computing device.

In some embodiments, the user interface may be transparent. As a result, information such as icons displayed on the electronic computing device may be visible to the user via the transparent user interface. The electronic computing device may then be responsive to user engagement with the clip based on locations of the user engagement and their correspondence to the icons displayed on the electronic computing device. In this fashion, a portable user interface may be provided that significantly enhances the functionality and usability of existing devices, and in some cases may also advantageously operate as a clip.

Along with iOS devices, the application says the clip could be attached to a camera, MacBook, game player, and even most interestingly a “convertible notebook.”

While it’s very likely that the described clip will never see the light of day, it is an interesting look at what Apple is focusing on behind the scenes. I’m hopeful some type of this technology will make its way to the recently rumored iWatch that might make an appearance in 2013.

Source: Patently Apple