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Patent depicts multiple modes for touchscreen iMac

updated 01:50 pm EDT, Mon August 23, 2010

Computer could transition between touch, mouse

Apple could be planning to introduce touchscreens to the iMac by way of a hybrid interface, a recently discovered patent application suggests. The company notes that despite the usefulness of a touch interface, a mouse- and keyboard-based one is still better in some circumstances. To switch between the two, Apple proposes a design in which a computer's display would be upright for the mouse interface, but slanted down and back for touch.

To make the transition possible an iMac would need a flexible display stand, and a sensor to determine when to change. For the latter Apple proposes several options, such as an accelerometer, a rotation sensor in the stand, and/or a special touch sensor at the place people would want to grip the display. Past a certain input limit, a computer would automatically switch between interfaces.

Notably, elements of Mac OS X such as the Menu Bar, the Dock and the mouse cursor could be made to slide off-screen during the handover. Apple has not specified what the touch interface would be, but PatentlyApple speculation contends that it could be iOS. The firmware is already based on Mac OS X, and might allow portability between desktop and handheld devices.

Apple further proposes extending the idea to a touch-based notebook. Like some Windows tablets, people would have to rotate a MacBook's screen to lay flat against a keyboard.

The patent was found through the World Intellectual Property Organization, and dates back to January 14th. Shortly thereafter, Apple was already rumored to be interested in building a 22-inch touchscreen iMac.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mr100percent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nice idea, but never happening. OS X isn't designed for touch-screen use, same as Windows. The scroll bars aren't gonna work well, the menu bar items are too small to touch, etc.

    Probably another idea that R&D works on but never gets released. What if this were running iOS?

  1. Super Glitcher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh, SNAP!

    You suckers voted me down but I called it! -- -- 4th comment. BURNNNN!

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Might be a better name. It IS happening.

  1. Marook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But not with iOS..

    OS X will simply get the API's to use Touch.
    And notice that they mention how the menu bar and other stuff might 'slide off screen'... maybe they simply expand to iTouch caple sizes.. who says the menubar needs to stay at the current height? Or the scrollbars.. they simply don't show, and then the indications from iOS show when you scroll the window with your fingers..

    Bring it on!

  1. OtisWild

    Joined: Dec 1969



    They'll have to migrate all the various ports (USB, FW, ethernet, audio/video) down to the base.. The lamp iMac would have been a better design to use as a touchscreen, perhaps they'll go back to that.

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