Apple Investigating Multitouch Mouse
Hrmpf notes that Apple has applied for a patent (in March 2006) which extends the concept of Multitouch to a computer mouse.
The user would be able to perform gestures such as pinching or a virtual scroll wheel on the surface of the mouse. In one embodiment, the touch-sensitive mouse would use an internal light source and a optically transmissive surface to track finger positions.
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.
Combinations of taps or gestures could trigger different actions such as "tapping with the middle and ring fingers could open iTunes or be set in the preference panel to do any particular action."
Apple has had a number of patent applications related to multitouch technology in the past, and features multitouch technology prominently on the Apple iPhone.