Is Apple bringing some semblance of the iPhone's touch screen to a new mouse? Could be, if the mouse described in this patent application spotted by Hrmpf.com ever goes from diagram to final product. In lieu of any mouse buttons--Apple's never been a big fan--the surface of the mouse would be one continuous surface made of an "optically transmissive material" and would feature a "multipoint touch-detection mechanism" that could detect one or more of your fingers.
You'd be able to program certain movements of your fingers--swiping, tapping, rotating--to perform certain actions such as opening apps, rotating images, and resizing windows. I'd imagine it could be similar to pinching your fingers to zoom in on a photo on the iPhone. Perhaps you'd set it up so that the middle of the mouse acted as a virtual scroll wheel. The patent also states that "gestures can also be used to invoke and manipulate virtual control interfaces, such as volume knobs, switches, sliders, handles, knobs, doors, and other widgets that may be created to facilitate human interaction with the computing system." I'd bet Photoshop would be a lot easier to navigate with such an interface.
The mouse would be illuminated with an internal light, which could change colors or pulse to indicate an event--you've got mail! It would also feature some degree of fingerprint recognition so that your settings are enabled when you grab the mouse and your wife's settings are there when she sits down at the PC.
Are you ready for a touch-sensitive, buttonless mouse? How about after using the iPhone's touch screen for a month or two? Think we'll ever see this mouse? Comment in the TalkBack below.