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Apple exploring dual-mode screens with 'display' and 'touch' settings

post #1 of 16
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Future Apple products could have screens that users could switch between unique modes for "display" and "touch," allowing a transition between traditional computing and multi-touch interaction.

The new patent application from Apple, entitled "Integrated Touch Sensitive Display Gate Driver," was revealed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week. It describes a circuit that would switch between display and touch modes, enabling and disabling an integrated touch sensitive display when necessary.

The filing notes that display and touch capabilities can conflict with one another. The proposed solution would be to switch between the two modes, allowing for an optimum experience in either display or touch settings.

"During touch mode, the circuit can be configured to switch the gate lines to connect to a more stable voltage supply," the application reads. "The circuit can also be configured to reduce or eliminate interference from the display circuitry that could affect touch sensing."

The addition of a "switchable gate driver" would be advantageous, the filing states, because disabling the touch capabilities would save power and also eliminate the need to correct or repeat erroneous or false touch sensing. A poorly grounded LCD driver could result in fluctuations that can cross over into the touch circuitry, and be incorrectly interpreted as a touch near the display.

The application also claims that the method could save costs, allowing the gate driver to be plugged into existing technology rather than requiring a complete redesign.

"The switchable gate driver can be compactly formed, disposed, and/or integrated with display and touch circuitry on a single LCD chip, thereby providing a thinner, smaller chip," it reads.



The filing even goes beyond multi-touch, and says the invention could be used to allow displays to switch into other unique modes. Some of the examples provided include "scan mode," "audio mode," and "text mode."

The application was first filed on Aug. 21, 2009. It is credited to inventors Marduke Yousefpor, Shih Chang Chang, Kevin J. White and Steven Porter Hotelling.



Public disclosure of the document comes as rumors of a touchscreen iMac have picked up steam. Reports from the Far East have indicated that Apple plans to build a new all-in-one desktop computer with a multi-touch capable screen measuring 20 inches or greater.

Earlier this year, a separate patent application filed overseas described an iMac-style computer that could operate in a traditional format, but could also be lowered via a hinge on the back that would allow easier access for a user's fingertips. Similar to this week's filing, it described two modes of operation: a "high-resolution" input for a mouse and keyboard, and "low-resolution" for touch.
post #2 of 16
That dude's name is CHANG CHANGE..
post #3 of 16
I could be wrong, but to me this reads as one of those patents that companies put out after they have a designed it and actively plan on using, not the typical whacky patent submission.
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post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I could be wrong, but to me this reads as one of those patents that companies put out after they have a designed it and actively plan on using, not the typical whacky patent submission.

IMO, this one is plenty wacky.
post #5 of 16
I love the design of that laptop in the drawing. It looks like my old Atari 800 with a screen!

http://www.computercloset.org/atari800.htm
post #6 of 16
In 10.7 or 11.0 or who knows, I'm sure Apple plans to incorporate iOS technologies into Mac OS X. This type of screen would be a good way to do it-- both a laptop and an iPad put together, maybe.
post #7 of 16
This sure is a goofy patent. To me, it looks like a preemptive patent designed to head off what a low cost touch computer manufacturer might do. Apple may have taken apart a cheap HP, Asus or Dell and analyzed what one of them might do to save money or conserve battery power.

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post #8 of 16
If this application gets granted a patent, it'll illustrate what many are saying: that the patent office has become a make work scheme for patent lawyers, that there's almost nothing it won't patent.

Turning on and off a touch screen capability is on a scale of obviousness with turning on or off the headlights or radio in a car. It requires no inventiveness. Faced with a problem, touch screens in situations where touch activation isn't always wanted, "Hey, let's turn off the touch capability" is the obvious solution. Something that obvious should not be patentable.
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I could be wrong, but to me this reads as one of those patents that companies put out after they have a designed it and actively plan on using, not the typical whacky patent submission.

Agreed and scan mode made me sit up!
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #10 of 16
The idea for an option to switch to or include an integrated iOS touch interface on a touch screen iMac is very appealing.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeybrain View Post

In 10.7 or 11.0 or who knows, I'm sure Apple plans to incorporate iOS technologies into Mac OS X. This type of screen would be a good way to do it-- both a laptop and an iPad put together, maybe.

The funny thing about iOS (& I made this same oversight in another post) is technically it is built from 10.6, so question would be can it be called 10.7 or 11 if it is merged into the desktop platform. It makes sense that support for iOS apps inside the desktop environment but I'm becoming more skeptical of an actual move of iOS to the desktop/laptop. I guess only time will tell, there hasn't even been a hint or whisper of the upcoming version of OS X/XI for some time.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

The funny thing about iOS (& I made this same oversight in another post) is technically it is built from 10.6, so question would be can it be called 10.7 or 11 if it is merged into the desktop platform. It makes sense that support for iOS apps inside the desktop environment but I'm becoming more skeptical of an actual move of iOS to the desktop/laptop. I guess only time will tell, there hasn't even been a hint or whisper of the upcoming version of OS X/XI for some time.

You need to virtualize iOS on top Mac OS, you need to have an app that allows for the CocoaTouch UI to work or even something more simple like the simulator built into the SDK.

We can use FrontRow as an example. Its an app, but its also a unique UI for a 10 foot user interface that became the foundation for the AppleTVs BackRow UI.

As for having all iOS apps run on Mac OS, that doesnt seem viable. Do you expand them to fit the size they were developed at or the pixel density? This will be different depending on the app and will look really bad in most cases. Only iPad apps on a 11.6 16:10 1280x800 Mac tablet/notebook could really get away with this as the pixel density is near identical so the distortion would be almost nil.
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post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

You need to virtualize iOS on top Mac OS, you need to have an app that allows for the CocoaTouch UI to work or even something more simple like the simulator built into the SDK.

We can use FrontRow as an example. Its an app, but its also a unique UI for a 10 foot user interface that became the foundation for the AppleTVs BackRow UI.

As for having all iOS apps run on Mac OS, that doesnt seem viable. Do you expand them to fit the size they were developed at or the pixel density? This will be different depending on the app and will look really bad in most cases. Only iPad apps on a 11.6 16:10 1280x800 Mac tablet/notebook could really get away with this as the pixel density is near identical so the distortion would be almost nil.

I agree with you, that isn't what I was thinking when I said support for iOS apps, I'm thinking more along the lines of the ability to create apps for iPad or whatever that could also run in a desktop environment, this would require some sort of layer within the desktop OS that would handle things like moving from a touch based design to one that is mouse point & click. Obviously not all apps can work the same inside a desktop environment, but some apps could easily work in both environments since they don't gain much from a touch driven interface (Netflix is a good example).

You might even see some apps able to be ported as widgets (weather apps for example). My main point was that the idea of iOS taking over the desktop environment is just silly & I doubt it will ever happen.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

I agree with you, that isn't what I was thinking when I said support for iOS apps, I'm thinking more along the lines of the ability to create apps for iPad or whatever that could also run in a desktop environment, this would require some sort of layer within the desktop OS that would handle things like moving from a touch based design to one that is mouse point & click. Obviously not all apps can work the same inside a desktop environment, but some apps could easily work in both environments since they don't gain much from a touch driven interface (Netflix is a good example).

You might even see some apps able to be ported as widgets (weather apps for example). My main point was that the idea of iOS taking over the desktop environment is just silly & I doubt it will ever happen.

Gotcha. Not so much Universal, but Multiverse apps.
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post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

I agree with you, that isn't what I was thinking when I said support for iOS apps, I'm thinking more along the lines of the ability to create apps for iPad or whatever that could also run in a desktop environment, this would require some sort of layer within the desktop OS that would handle things like moving from a touch based design to one that is mouse point & click. Obviously not all apps can work the same inside a desktop environment, but some apps could easily work in both environments since they don't gain much from a touch driven interface (Netflix is a good example).

You might even see some apps able to be ported as widgets (weather apps for example). My main point was that the idea of iOS taking over the desktop environment is just silly & I doubt it will ever happen.

You know, they already have a layer to be able to run iOS apps: the iPhone Simulator. If that simulator can run the apps, and be able to handle conversion of touch->mouse, then why not a full-blown OS layer for it? Yes, it isn't perfect; but it seems like a great starting point.

-- Mike Eggleston
-- Mac Fanatic since 1984.
-- Proud Member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals
-- Wii #: 8913 3004 4519 2027

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-- Mike Eggleston
-- Mac Fanatic since 1984.
-- Proud Member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals
-- Wii #: 8913 3004 4519 2027

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post #16 of 16
My iPad already does this. Hey look! It's a display! Hey look, when I touch it, it reacts!

I guess I don't quite understand the problem this is trying to fix...
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