Apple patents point to iMac Touch

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iMac Touch patent filing

The website Patently Apple has uncovered some rather interesting European patents from Apple concerning what they call the iMac Touch. It’s a desktop system that has all of the benefits and features of both a standard desktop computer and a large touch interface. One thing is for sure…I want one.

Patently Apple’s “summary” of the patent filings is actually quite long. It’s more than just a quick read, so let me condense it for you. The gist is that this iMac pretty much looks and behaves like a standard iMac you could see at any Apple Store today…that is, until you reorient it. There would be sensors in the bottom corners of the bezel around the display. Once you grab the screen there and tilt it down to an angle like the image above, the user interface will transition to one more tailored for touching.

This interface would have much larger buttons. The font in the menu bar would be far bigger. Everything would be much easier to access with your fingers. And since many of us have been playing with and using iPads on a daily basis for the better part of this year, it’s easy to imagine the types of things you could do with a larger system like that. Think iBooks, or games, or flipping through pictures…. perhaps even predicting crime with a sweet light-up glove.

Okay, that last one is probably not going to happen, but still, you’re probably at least a bit intrigued, right?

The patent filings go on to describe a similar system involving a future model of MacBook. If you’ve ever seen a convertible tablet, this is exactly that, except the entire user interface changes when you reorient the screen, just like on the iMac Touch.

As much as I like the idea of a Wacom Tablet, Microsoft has in part shown that pen driven tablet interfaces are not ideal. They might be perfect for certain types of art, but touch is where our user interfaces are headed. With the success of the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, I think it’s safe to say that Apple will be expanding support for touch throughout their products. And that’s a good thing. If only they could do it faster.

Would you buy an iMac Touch if it were available in the next year? I know I would.

Read [Patently Apple]

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