Apple has filed an application for a patent covering new QuickTime interface controls. However, the filing is only the second of this week, provoking questions about what Apple is up to behind the scenes.

Patently Apple reports that the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s application on Thursday, which details new controls that will allow users to set a speed of playback that will provide users with advanced playback accuracy. The report describes the invention as “a practical idea delivered in an interface that only Apple could dream up.”

The patent illustrates an animation of QuickTime’s current play/pause control morphing into a new control panel with the aforementioned superior features.

Apple’s patent description reads: “A jog shuttle control allows for both quickly advancing or rewinding through a presentation and for advancing or rewinding through a presentation with finer granularity.”

“The control object could begin morphing from a traditional play button into a 3-dimensional play button, appearing to rise up from the control panel,” adds Apple’s description.

Patently Apple also notes that Apple’s patent applications have dropped dramatically over the past two weeks, but one other new filing has surfaced titled “Using a Battery Pack to Facilitate Thermal Transfer in a Portable Device.”

The report highlights that this is the second week in a row that only two Apple patent applications have been published. That’s is far less than usual for the company, and is significantly lower than Samsung’s 125-250 applications a week.

“The dramatic drop in patent application activity could be a sign that Apple is shifting gears and preparing a new road map for the next decade,” says Patently Apple. “On the other hand it could be anything from an abnormal lull right through to the company feeling rudderless without Steve Jobs’ direction.”