Apple files patents like they sell iPods– a lot. The latest one to come to light is potentially the most useful. The filing implies this would be used in some sort of iPod with a touchscreen and listen to this:
It describes a touch-screen interface for portable electronics devices that can sense when an object, such as a person’s finger, is approaching. When an object is sensed, the touch-screen interface may perform an action such as displaying a “virtual scroll wheel,” navigation pad or virtual keypad.
Sure sounds like the hover ability that Tablet PCs with active digitizers enjoy, but on a touchscreen. This could be huge for ultra-portable devices of all kinds. Basically the special touchscreen senses when a fingertip or stylus approaches the screen and triggers some programmed interface tool, like a scroll wheel or on-screen keyboard to appear. This is one Apple patent filing I really hope makes it into some device.