Apple files ‘iMac touch’ patent
Published 24/08/2010 | 11:40
Apple has filed a patent for a touch-screen iMac desktop computer with swivelling display.
The patent, which was filed in January, shows plans for an iMac desktop computer with a touch-screen display. The stand can be moved up and down, and the screen can be swivelled to lie flat.
Patently Apple, a website that tracks Apple’s patent applications, said that the patent clearly outlined how the device would switch between OS X for desktop computing tasks and its mobile equivalent, iOS, for more iPad-style uses.
“Imagine having an iMac on your desktop one minute and a gigantic iPad the next,” reads the site. “Imagine playing iGames on this dream machine. Imagine reading a double-page book on this. Apple takes the mystery out of how OS X could finally co-exist with iOS on a Mac, and you’ve got to see this one to believe it.”
The patent – entitled “Transitioning with modes of input”, and filed with the World Intellectual Property Organisation on January 14 – outlines how the iMac will able to switch between the two operating systems.
According to the documents filed with the WIPO, the computer will run OS X when used in a standard configuration, complete with mouse and keyboard. However, it will automatically switch to iOS when the user adjusts the configuration to make it more suitable for touch input. This could involve pulling the display down and towards the user, and then swivelling the screen upwards to make it more like a tablet. Sensors on the sides of the display could detect when it is being gripped and pulled, while an accelerometer in the screen itself would also be able to detect movement, and switch between iOS and OS X accordingly.
In January, DigiTimes, an English-language publication about consumer electronics manufacturing in Asia, reported that Apple had created a touch-enabled iMac, and that the all-in-one computer was set to go on sale later this year.
Apple has also filed another patent in recent days that outlines the way in which it could idenitify unauthorised iPhone or iPad users, and remotely block their use of the device.
In documents filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple defined what it considered to be illegitimate or unauthorised use, which included hacking or ‘jailbreaking’ an iPhone, illegally unlocking it to run on multiple networks, or even the removal of a SIM card.
The patent also gave details of how Apple planned to identify whether a user was unauthroised or legitimate.
“A photograph of the current user can be taken, a recording of the current user's voice can be recorded, the heartbeat of the current user can be recorded, or any combination of the above," read the patent.
"The photograph, recording, or heartbeat can be compared, respectively, to a photograph, recording, or heartbeat of authorised users of the electronic device to determine whether they match.”
The patent states that “sensitive information” could be erased from the device if the presence of an unauthorised user is detected.
Last month, the US Government ruled that ‘jailbreaking’ -- hacking a phone to run on any network and any software -- was legal.