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Apple patent would allow full Mac tablet

updated 11:25 am EDT, Thu August 28, 2008

Apple Mac Tablet Patent

Apple has been developing interface technology that would allow for a multi-touch handheld with full Mac OS X rather than a streamlined interface, the company has revealed through a US patent filing published today. Showing an example device which is clearly portable, the patent for a gesture system would adapt many of the basic control scheme elements familiar to Mac OS X to an environment where touch input is assumed but which is larger than an iPhone or iPod touch-class device.

As an example of overcoming common size restrictions, the close/minimize/maximize buttons in the title bar would deliberately expand when the user reaches to touch one of them, permitting Apple to use its standard Mac OS X interface without compromising the controls for touch-only users.

The interface would also change slightly and at times significantly depending on the context. Instead of the flick gesture of the iPhone to scroll through lists, users would rely on a two-finger drag to move up or down the list and a single finger to tap a selection. On-screen keyboards would also be larger and recognize more than one finger at a time for key combinations, while an iPod-like scroll wheel could appear on cue for scrubbing through media or fast scrolling elsewhere. Dials and similar rotary controls are also discussed as possibilities.

Apple notes that the publication continues a patent that was originally applied for in 2004 but expands significantly on that information. The new filing was submitted much more recently, in April 2008, and follows an application for a for multi-touch creative app patent revealed in July.

The company isn't obligated to use either of the patents and hasn't revealed any products but is widely believed to be in long-term development of larger touch devices that would have a more complex interface than any of Apple's current touch-driven hardware and use faster components, potentially involving the Intel Atom architecture (once codenamed Silverthorne for UMPCs). Early predictions would have had at least one device release in 2008, though this is no longer certain and may be pushed back to 2009 if introduced.











By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Mixotic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    0

    Awesome alien hands...

    Super freaky! Do you think Jobs drew those himself?

  1. kdogg73

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Dec 2002

    +4

    funky fingers

    everything looks like engineered drawings except for those bar sketched hands

  1. bjojade

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    +3

    Gnarly fingers!!

    Wow, who drew the hands in figures 23 and 25? Wow. Talk about disfigured!!

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    +3

    hands

    That's to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act - to show the tablet can be used by people with carpal tunnel and arthritis.

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005

    +1

    Surprsing

    Normally, they don't go so far as to show actual application windows in these patent documents. Perhaps this has more viability than previously thought?

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999

    -4

    Mac Tablet?! NOT

    iPhone and iPod touch are the Mac tablets. They're small but powerful, and remember the buzz about the iPhone OS (The best mobile OS or something like that).

    These patents were incorporated, somehow, in the iPhone OS.

    I think that multi-touch track pad (Mac Book Air and Mac Book Pro) will appear in the new Mac Books (and maybe in a new Apple keyboard). But "Mac Tablet", forget that.

  1. Roehlstation

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +2

    Mac Tablet?

    They'll call it the "MacBook Touch" I'm sure.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +2

    Re: surprising and NOT

    Its not that surprising, since they aren't showing anything that's new. Its just "Hey, an application window, and we're doing something with it" kind of thing. It would be surprising if they showed some unreleased touch-screen app.

    As for the iPhone/Touch being a tablet, what are you smoking dude? Those devices are way to limited to be considered 'tablets' (not to mention small).

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -4

    allow?

    So without this patent, they wouldn't be allowed to make a tablet computer? Interesting.

  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008

    +2

    alien hands

    Proof that Apple is get extra terrestrial help!!

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