It really wouldn't be an Apple device if it didn't involve the practical kidnapping of a pair of inventors and secretive technology buyouts, and the iPhone seems to be no exception. Word is getting out of John Elias and Wayne Westerman, co-founders of FingerWorks, who were struggling to keep their dream of gesture-operated gadgetry alive when the company suddenly closed up shop a year and a half ago. Few doubt Apple snapped up the pair, and with interesting touchscreen abilities of the iPhone, it looks like it found a use for the men in some secretive underground laboratory. The greatest admission so far to such cahoots comes from Westerman, who said recently: "The one difference that's actually quite significant is the iPhone is a display with the multi-touch, and the FingerWorks was just an opaque surface. That's all I'm going to say there. There's definite similarities, but Apple's definitely taken it another step by having it on a display." FingerWorks devices, which included a no-touch keyboard, mouse-less mouse pad and other multi-touch devices, have developed a bit of a cult following from "Fingerfans" on the internets, with people paying upwards of $1,500 for a FingerWorks keyboard that originally sold for $250. The ergonomics and usability enhancements of FingerWorks devices appeal to a small niche right now, but the hope is that Apple won't be limiting its implementation of these technologies to just the iPhone -- of course, nobody is holding their breath.

[Thanks, Geezer]

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