Apple computers getting touchy-feely?

August 30, 2008

iphone.jpgApple Inc has filed a patent application for a way to apply touchscreen technology to a computer.

In papers filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Thursday, the Cupertino, California-based company appears to be looking for a way to take the touchscreen technology showcased on its iPhone and give it new life on computers. (Note – your browser may need a plug-in available through the Patent Office site’s help section to see the drawings.)

AppleInsider reported on Apple’s patent filing in a story posted on its Web site.

Apple said in its filing that the computer mouse and the touch pad are limited in the kinds of gestures they allow users to perform, and that its invention for a multipoint sensing device will open up new possibilities.

The patent application details ways for a user to zoom in on an image on the screen and perform functions by touching one or another icon. The iPhone already uses finger gestures for navigation, a handy piece of technology because the device is too small for a keyboard.

Apple’s application also describes how users could touch a screen with gestures and make use of a simulated keyboard on the screen.

Of course, it remains to be seen if, having made this patent application, Apple develops it further.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)

18 comments

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Any way they make the keyboard on the screen it won’t be comfortable, so that idea is pointless. Why doesn’t apple just shut down already, and leave microsoft to run everything like it should? The keyboard and mouse are awesome, don’t fix something that isn’t broken.

Posted by Steven | Report as abusive

[...] Apple computers getting touchy-feely? Reuters – USA Apple Inc has filed a patent application for a way to apply touchscreen technology to a computer. In papers filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office on … See all stories on this topic [...]

A patent for touchscreen? wtf? Hello! Does apple know about the HP Touchsmart or the pc tablets out there? I’m sure they will soon claim that apple is the first touchscreen based computer.

Posted by bizdak | Report as abusive

If you follow the “don’t fix something that isn’t broken”, then you will never innovate. Also, Apple’s success doesn’t come from doing things first. Apple didn’t invent the mp3 player. Apple’s successful because they do it better than everyone else.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

[...] Apple computers getting touchy-feely? [...]

[...] I was just reading an article on Reuters that talks about how Apple Computer has filed for a patent for a new method of using a touch screen on a computer, presumably, it leverages the technology that they use in the iPhone and iPod Touch. Link [...]

MacDailyNews.com reported last month that “Apple’s secret product is ‘MacBook touch,’” due “by October at the latest.”

Think MacBook screen, possibly a bit smaller, in glass with iPhone-like, but fuller-featured Multi-Touch. Gesture library. Full Mac OS X. Possibly with Immersion’s haptic tech. Slot-loading SuperDrive. Accelerometer. GPS. App Store-compatible, able to run Mac apps, too. By October at the latest.

Link: http://macdailynews.com/index.php/weblog  /comments/17942/

Posted by Lon | Report as abusive

“The keyboard and mouse are awesome, don’t fix something that isn’t broken.”

And the DOS command line guys probably said he same thing.

Posted by Donald W. Moore | Report as abusive

The DOS guys laughed at the Macintosh’s mouse an GUI. Who needs that? No one will use it. Typing is better and faster. A “toy” computer, they said.

Who’s laughing now?

Apple’s multi-touch goes way beyond the simple touch screen or pressure sensitive screen (Wacom Cintiq). You use physical gestures on screen to accomplish simple, repetitive tasks.

Who knows where this will lead?
Or rather, who knows where Apple will lead us?

Posted by Mr. Reeee | Report as abusive

Clearly Steven has never used, seen or come into contact with a mac. I have a newfound appreciation for the elegance of a mac when I attempted to fix my dad’s HP laptop. Clunky interface, unresponsive controls, out and out UGLYYYY and counter intuitive. I wish the world was as beautiful as a mac.

Posted by missy | Report as abusive

Touch screen computer from Apple? Does anyone remember the Apple Newton & it’s clamshell cousin, the eMate 300 circa 1998. This is old tech. True, the multi-point feature is cool but MS is doing something like that already with it’s ‘Surface’ interface. How about getting rid of the physical interface altogether, using gestures, sunglass mounted screens, lazerlight virtual keyboards, (see ‘Minority Report’); all tech available today.

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

The multiple buttons mice are over. Just check out the newer macbook pros and Macbook Air to get a taste of what multi-touch track pads are all about. Things promise to get even better with these latest licenses from Apple.

Posted by Jocca | Report as abusive

I’m with you Mr Reese. Um, I think it’s called progress.

Posted by Bill M. | Report as abusive

No, Apple doesn’t know about other touch screens.

And has forgotten all about something called Newton.

Ah the “if it an broke” crowd, imagine where we’d be if everyone was like that. We’d probably still be using carbon paper.

Posted by Dennis | Report as abusive

New adaptation of existing technology is always welcome for future progress. Style, beauty, and art need to be incorporated through out the technologies, Apple does this with class and style, something that is needed into todays markets.

Progress in our world comes in fits and starts. I have hope that this will be another one of those steps forward. I eagerly await its release.

Hey Steven, first commenter, who do you think invented the mouse in the first place? It was Apple, not M$. And who invented windows? Apple, not M$. Now if you doubt this, why did M$ pay Apple $1 Billion dollars in damages in a patent infringement lawsuit? If you doubt this, take a look at the Apple Financial Statement, and you will see that M$ owns $1 Billion in non-voting worthless stock, which is what they agreed to in the settlement. I suggest you read the history of M$, if you want to know what kind of underhanded and double dealing outfit it is.

Posted by elbarbudo | Report as abusive

Apple is on the rocks and flailing in pain! Vista will rule the day people!

[...] Source: Apple computers getting touchy-feely? – Reuters Blogs [...]

Actually, Apple developed neither the GUI or the mouse but lifted it from another company thinktank. As for the patent applications why get all hot and bothered over it. In today’s environment if you think about it, you need to protect your thoughts or a week later someone will discover you did not and make the application and keep the patent litigation on page one resulting in added costs of doing business.

Posted by Brian Levy | Report as abusive

We’re trying to get an Apple Store to come to New Haven:

http://www.designnewhaven.com/2008/10/he lp-bring-apple-store-downtown.html

Posted by alex | Report as abusive