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Apple shows continued interest in touch iMac with adjustable stand

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Though Apple officials have publicly said they believe touchscreens do not work for traditional computers, Apple has shown continued interest in a desktop iMac with an adjustable stand to allow for multi-touch input on a highly moveable display.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this week made public a new patent application from Apple. Discovered by AppleInsider, the filing, entitled "Multiple Position Stand," describes a highly flexible stand with multiple joints, allowing the display of an iMac-like all-in-one computer to be adjusted in a variety of ways.

Such an invention could pave the way for a Mac that can more easily be utilized with a touchscreen. The application notes that the theoretical computer described in the filing may not even have a dedicated keyboard, but could instead "comprise a touch screen such that the user may operate the display like a keyboard."

The application notes that consumers are looking for computers and devices with a screen that can be displayed in an orientation that fits their needs. It also says that placing a screen on a highly adjustable arm should not ruin the attractive aesthetic appearance of a device.

Apple's solution would allow users to rotate and adjust the screen as they saw fit, including the ability to place the display in a landscape or portrait orientation. It would also allow the screen to be pulled toward the user and laid flat, allowing for easier touch input.



While the application largely hints at an iMac-style device, it is not limited to a traditional desktop computer. The filing notes that such a stand could be used to hold other devices, such as a tablet, like an iPad, or a smartphone, like the iPhone. It also notes that the adjustable touchscreen could be plugged into other devices, like a notebook computer.

The filing lists a number of joint types that could allow users great flexibility in how they position the display of the device. In one method, a ball and socket joint would allow free rotation and adjustment of the display.



Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs poured cold water on the prospect of a touchscreen Mac last October when he showed off the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.7 Lion operating system. Lion will add new features lifted from iOS, Apple's mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad, including new multi-touch gestures, app Home screens, full-screen applications, and auto-save functionality.

But Jobs said that touchscreens don't work when they are positioned in front of a user, which is why devices like the iPhone and iPad are successful. The CEO indicated that Apple will stick with input methods like the trackpad and Magic Mouse for Macs, but an adjustable display could allow for a more comfortable touch input method on a traditional computer.

This week's filing is not the first time Apple has shown interest in a touch-screen iMac with an adjustable stand. A similar filing was made public by the World Intellectual Property Organization last August.
post #2 of 45
I have JUST the thing they're looking for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCHblz_LsKc
post #3 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs poured cold water on the prospect of a touchscreen Mac last October when he showed off the forthcoming Mac OS X 10.7 Lion operating system. Lion will add new features lifted from iOS, Apple's mobile operating system for the iPhone and iPad, including new multi-touch gestures, app Home screens, full-screen applications, and auto-save functionality.

But Jobs said that touchscreens don't work when they are positioned in front of a user, which is why devices like the iPhone and iPad are successful. The CEO indicated that Apple will stick with input methods like the trackpad and Magic Mouse for Macs, but an adjustable display could allow for a more comfortable touch input method on a traditional computer.
.

While the Lion is away, the kids will play.
post #4 of 45
People like touchscreens because they're simpler than a mouse.

But managed (App Store) apps are simpler than searching the web yourself and taking an install risk. And full screen is simpler than lots of overlapping windows.

They can take many of the things that make the iPad popular (simplicities) and bring them to the Mac without obsessing about one (touch) and indeed that's what they're doing with Lion.
post #5 of 45
I think it is a logical progression for OS X so long as everything is optional. There are situations where touch will be easier and situation where it is not. Having the choice would be nice but it depends how it is implemented. If seamless and either approach can work (where possible, i.e. some apps won't support it) I'd be very happy.

Obviously applications are not going to appear over night that support both but I would guess iWorks and iLife might be first out of the gate along with the Finder of course. I can see the ability to run iPad games an immediate draw plus certain Pro apps such as Final Cut Pro might be fascinating to use with touch manipulation if the screen pivots down to a comfortable position.
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post #6 of 45
I see the problem with a iMac in this modality is that it will really just a 'heavy' iPad, with all the liabilities of a laptop and the requirements to support both external 'gestures' (a trackpad and keyboard) was well as screen touch.... and the assumption that Mac OS X apps 'will just work'

I'd rather see an iPad Virtual touchpad to control my big screen iMac, able to switch from 'screen sharing' (remote control with a keypad trackpad overlay) to just being a highly accurate multi-touch device for my desktop, coupled with a bluetooth keyboard.
post #7 of 45
Why not just have a touchscreen Mac and still have mouse, trackpad, keyboard and let users decide how they'll use it.
post #8 of 45
I could imagine a mode in which the user grasps the bottom two corners and pulls the screen towards them so it moves to 45 degrees with the front edge as close to the user as the front edge of the desk, overlaying the keyboard. Touch, then, would make some sense, except that the user would only be able to see the ceiling lights due to the reflectivity of the screen.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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post #9 of 45
It disappoints me to see content of this nature editorialized into such rubbish. This article is extremely misleading and full of hypothetical scenarios positioned as fact. If i were editor, this reporter would be sent back to school.

Judging from the already posted comments, the author has achieved his desired effect and another useless, unfounded rumour begins its propagation into the ether.

The basic, truthful content is interesting in itself.
post #10 of 45
I am not sure how I personally feel about a computer touch screen. I do like the option but I wonder if they will lead the way for this to really catch on? I guess only time will tell.
post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacAdemia View Post

It disappoints me to see content of this nature editorialized into such rubbish. This article is extremely misleading and full of hypothetical scenarios positioned as fact. If i were editor, this reporter would be sent back to school.

Judging from the already posted comments, the author has achieved his desired effect and another useless, unfounded rumour begins its propagation into the ether.

The basic, truthful content is interesting in itself.

I have to agree based on what seems to be the description of the actual patent vs. the commentary on what it, "could make possible." (A link to the actual patent info, or if that's not yet available, a fuller description, would be helpful.)

All this seems to be is a possibly new type of iMac stand that would allow the display to be positioned with greater flexibility than the current stand allows. There doesn't seem to be anything at all to indicate that Apple has any intention of turning the iMac into a touch screen device. And, given Apple's public statements on the matter, it seems extremely unlikely that they have such intentions, for good reason.
post #12 of 45
They should trash this idea and concentrate on keeping the iMac a powerful desktop.
Want touch? use a trackpad.
I hope updated iMac bumps the graphics card to a 256 bit bus. Leave touch to the iPad.
\
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Why not just have a touchscreen Mac and still have mouse, trackpad, keyboard and let users decide how they'll use it.

Something similar to that is what will happen. I've been saying that the OS will load whatever it needs into whatever device it's being used on. I can see the OS as being neutral in that it will have all of the UI elements inside. Which ones get used will depend on the device. The iPhone won't be able to use a mouse, but an iMac will be able to use all of it. It's possible that the UI elements being displayed will depend on the program being used, though I would imagine that developers will add more UI choices to their software.

I really don't see this as an all or nothing kind of thing, and that's what will make the difference.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacAdemia View Post

It disappoints me to see content of this nature editorialized into such rubbish. This article is extremely misleading and full of hypothetical scenarios positioned as fact. If i were editor, this reporter would be sent back to school.

Judging from the already posted comments, the author has achieved his desired effect and another useless, unfounded rumour begins its propagation into the ether.

The basic, truthful content is interesting in itself.

That's absurd. This is a very good possibility. It's also the second patent for a sliding iMac. Another one was published months ago. There could be no reason for patents that relate to sliding screens other than for the use of touch. It's really pretty obvious.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyepad View Post

They should trash this idea and concentrate on keeping the iMac a powerful desktop.
Want touch? use a trackpad.
I hope updated iMac bumps the graphics card to a 256 bit bus. Leave touch to the iPad.
\

Tell me something:

What about the iMac gaining multitouch would possibly make it a less-powerful desktop?

Anything. Just ONE thing.
post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyepad View Post

They should trash this idea and concentrate on keeping the iMac a powerful desktop.
Want touch? use a trackpad.
I hope updated iMac bumps the graphics card to a 256 bit bus. Leave touch to the iPad.
\

I hope we get all options: There are two main things that differ when using a touch pad to direct screen touch IMHO. The ratio of the pad to the screen for one, the proxy pointer icon required for a track pad for the other.

If working on a 27" screen or larger and manipulating a bunch of things using a trackpad the hand is having to move away from the action and the brain interpreting the actions from over on your table top to what you see on the screen and the ratios difference huge (although fast track moves faster etc I realize) and this has consequences and a mouse is often required for fine detail manipulation (i.e. choice again). This is intuitive to a certain extent but it is never the less a second hand action pardon the pun.

Secondly, a movement from one side of a large screen to other other has to be represented by the movement of the pointer icon, i.e. you have to get it there before you can do anything using a track pad. We have had this for so long we forget this often but until that darn arrow is where we need it the mouse and trackpad are both useless. There is no such pointer when in touch mode hence you can go to the other side without first having to reposition a pointer which is your proxy to interpret your actions such as a click or a grab. For many things a finger touch ability (let alone multi-gestures) will be a huge time saver.

At the end of the day there will be those that prefer one over the other so bring on the choice I say.

p.s The graphics card comment seems to be off topic. I don't see any connection.
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post #17 of 45
There will never be a touch screen iMac. iMac 'like' is the operative word. I can't imagine it would include imac in the name.
post #18 of 45
Just watch them backtrack and make a 7 inch iPad, too. I'd love to see how they'll market that.
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

There will never be a touch screen iMac. iMac 'like' is the operative word. I can't imagine it would include imac in the name.

I can imagine it would include "Mac" in the name. Whether it would be a successor to the iMac remains to be seen.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

There will never be a touch screen iMac. iMac 'like' is the operative word. I can't imagine it would include imac in the name.

So are you simply arguing nomenclature semantics or substance?
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post #21 of 45
An Apple screen on a picture frame stand sounds familiar somehow...








Ah yeah thats it .
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's absurd. This is a very good possibility. It's also the second patent for a sliding iMac. Another one was published months ago. There could be no reason for patents that relate to sliding screens other than for the use of touch. It's really pretty obvious.

Yes and no. Apple could be patenting this so they would be the ones to make the money off licensing the tech. With no real intentions to use it themselves (unlike trademarks you don't have to make the product to win the prize)

Or maybe one day in the way future things might go this way and Apple doesn't want to have to pay someone should they decide to jump in. But it does equal that they will create this for basic consumers. This kind of keyboard less set up is perfect for many businesses. That could be the intended audience (perhaps combined with some flavor of Server running behind the scenes).

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #23 of 45
I have used touch screens, mostly it is ok to grab the object you want, but with the magic trackpad I get almost the same effect. With more gestures and a bigger trackpad in front of a computer, the result could be very effective.
post #24 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowhide View Post

I have used touch screens, mostly it is ok to grab the object you want, but with the magic trackpad I get almost the same effect. With more gestures and a bigger trackpad in front of a computer, the result could be very effective.

Until we see what Apple offers I'd suggest with all due respect, anything you have tried is not really all that relevant. I suspect what you tried hardly compares to Apple's patented multi-touch gestures interface. However, I am, as I said previously, all for having all options at my disposal, touch pad, mouse and screen. I do suspect apps will be one or the other though, I doubt they will truly mix and match however much I would wish they could. But we will see soon enough, or at least we will see the early stages, soon I believe.
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post #25 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisIsMike View Post

I have JUST the thing they're looking for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCHblz_LsKc

I'm glad you posted this, because I couldn't agree more. For some reason, this iMac design above all others still makes me very giddy. I wish they would bring it back and just turn the white plastic into aluminum, or maybe liquidmetal.

For me, this was the most innovative and exciting iMac ever, not to mention my second favorite MacWorld product unveiling. (iPhone is #1).
post #26 of 45
Yuck.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Tell me something:

What about the iMac gaining multitouch would possibly make it a less-powerful desktop?

Anything. Just ONE thing.

I have the 27" iMac. I don't think making it touch would make it Less powerful, I just don't want specs to be left behind so Apple can keep the profit margins the same.
I also think it would be awkward for it to lay down and become touch.
I'm thinking of my desk and if it were to lay flat and become touch I would have to stand up to use it. Steve and many others vertical touch is not good. Arms tire easily.
If apple has $100 extra cost in the fancy new stand, I don't see any possibility of better specs. And possibly smaller screen choices.
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyepad View Post

I'm thinking of my desk and if it were to lay flat and become touch I would have to stand up to use it.

Your desk is WAY to high to be ergonomically sound, then.

The iMac is, what, only a couple of inches thick? At the appropriate angle for seated, comfortable touchscreen use, it wouldn't be more than a few inches higher than the desk surface.
post #29 of 45
Have we all forgotten so soon???



(sorry, ThisIsMike, couldn't watch your vid link from work; didn't mean to steal your thunder.)

-Clive
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post #30 of 45
Apple will have to keep the touch functionality optional until most people realize they prefer the touch counterparts of their favorite software.
post #31 of 45
deleted
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

If working on a 27" screen or larger and manipulating a bunch of things using a trackpad the hand is having to move away from the action and the brain interpreting the actions from over on your table top to what you see on the screen and the ratios difference huge (although fast track moves faster etc I realize) and this has consequences and a mouse is often required for fine detail manipulation (i.e. choice again). This is intuitive to a certain extent but it is never the less a second hand action pardon the pun.

Secondly, a movement from one side of a large screen to other other has to be represented by the movement of the pointer icon, i.e. you have to get it there before you can do anything using a track pad. We have had this for so long we forget this often but until that darn arrow is where we need it the mouse and trackpad are both useless. There is no such pointer when in touch mode hence you can go to the other side without first having to reposition a pointer which is your proxy to interpret your actions such as a click or a grab. For many things a finger touch ability (let alone multi-gestures) will be a huge time saver.

Not necessarily. I suspect in many cases moving a mouse with your fingers an inch to move to move the cursor all the way across the screen is easier/quicker than moving your hand/arm a couple of feet from one of the screen to the other. As others have pointed out, moving your whole hand to interact with with an all-touch interface could be quite fatiguing.

That's why I suspect Apple will "never" roll out a large-screen computer with multi-touch interface.
post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

So are you simply arguing nomenclature semantics or substance?

A bit of both, I guess. The iMac is a workhorse as well as a premiere desktop. A touch desktop device will be a smaller device for more fleeting type of work, which for most people at home covers much of what they do. I can't imagine Apple would want to 'dilute' the imac concept with a smaller less powerful touch model. When SJ opined about touch in relation to desktop machines I think he was both right and sincere. We have discussed this at length here before but I don't think we will be seeing a touch 20" or 27" device anytime soon. The drawings show a machine that can be flipped from landscape to portrait mode and this, too, would imply a smaller form factor. The other thing is IOS v OSX. A touch device will surely only run IOS?
I would actually be surprised if they came out with a machine like suggested in the article in the foreseeable future. What would make more sense to me is a custom, versatile stand for the ipad.
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Have we all forgotten so soon???



(sorry, ThisIsMike, couldn't watch your vid link from work; didn't mean to steal your thunder.)

-Clive

That's the first thing i though of. "Is this an old patent referring to the G4?"
post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Have we all forgotten so soon???

I think the lamp style is the best design but the problem they have is the weight distribution. You can't stick a 27" screen on one of those and be able to easily put it in portrait mode.

Personally, I think the 27" is too big. 24" is a decent size screen for a desktop and Apple could perhaps just sell one screen size of iMac.

It would be great if they could put just the motherboard behind the screen but you can't tilt it with peripherals attached so they would essentially have to build something like a Mini but a little taller and maybe dome-shaped with a 24" screen on top.

Even if they just did this design for the 21.5", it would be fine. The 27" has a tall enough screen anyway that it can just collapse down.

It does seem like this would currently make more sense for the iPad though.
post #36 of 45
@Marvin: agreed, the weight distribution might be an issue, although, a larger "foot" and properly balanced spring weights would solve the problem, I think, though may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the original!
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post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

I'd rather see an iPad Virtual touchpad to control my big screen iMac, able to switch from 'screen sharing' (remote control with a keypad trackpad overlay) to just being a highly accurate multi-touch device for my desktop, coupled with a bluetooth keyboard.

#1 WERD!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Tell me something:

What about the iMac gaining multitouch would possibly make it a less-powerful desktop?

Anything. Just ONE thing.

No problem. I have a great need to sit back from my computer when I draw. I don't want to draw on a screen I want to draw on a tablet and have that info directed towards the screen. The only really good thing about touch imac would be for kisosks and digital registers, but for someone drawing, typing etc it would be pointless to reach out in front of you to do so. A pad lying flat on the desk or slightly tilted and in your lap is much more natural use for touch.

I also don't like editing with my hands reached out. Further I doubt the touch paradigm in OSX will be good enough to control everything, therefore I raise the screen to use the mouse, I lower the screen to touch, then I raise the screen again to mouse and lower the... you get the point. Stupid idea. Give me a trackpad app for the ipad or maybe a "dumb" ipad or something, but not a touch screen.

I don't think that looking down and typing is very ergonomic, but let's see if Apple gives it a shot.

Also if iOS gets integrated into OSX how are they going to solve resolution issues? iOS is designed for two res's at this point I don't think more is going to help anything. The entire touch paradigm is based on a specific # of pixels for buttons etc. How can you efficiently build touch into a desktop OS?

I would think therefore that the touch features in OSX will have little to do with iOS at all and would only pertain to a few specific navigation features as presented with multitouch on the current track pads. Very limited use for such a radical design change and additional component cost. You're probably better off making the consumer pay for the upgrade in an external dvice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lightstriker View Post

That's the first thing i though of. "Is this an old patent referring to the G4?"

Yay. Let's take a design step backward 5 years, add some clunk features and we'll end up with this




If Apple goes this route I'm sure they'd work out the glitches, but I don't think it's worth their trouble as they have much better solutions to the same UI "problems" already at their disposal.
turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
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post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by App Ideas View Post

I am not sure how I personally feel about a computer touch screen. I do like the option but I wonder if they will lead the way for this to really catch on? I guess only time will tell.

A touch screen on a vertical screen makes no sense, no matter what people think they want. Try this on your laptop -- hold your hand out and emulate the motions you would make, especially typing with both hands. Your arms will start to kill you in about 15 minutes. You're trying to violate the laws of gravity.

A sliding screen that can rotate to a horizontal position makes some sense.

And while typing on screen in a smaller than normal keypad makes sense for a Pad or Phone in order to keep the device physically small, it is far less productive, especially for real work, like creating spreadsheets, Word documents, inputting databases, programming, detailed email, etc.

Getting rid of physical keyboards is a step backwards, not forwards. Just because some people use their computer/pad for simple web browsing, music, watching movies, tweets and other tasks that don't require intensive input doesn't mean that everyone does. If Apple pursues this aggressively in non-Pad devices, they will lose a still-gigantic part of the market as professionals will be forced to abandon them.

But people get crazy over patent filings when there's no need. When an engineer comes up with an interesting idea, a company will patent it whether they ever intend to use the idea in an actual product or not.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Why not just have a touchscreen Mac and still have mouse, trackpad, keyboard and let users decide how they'll use it.

No, that would make too much sense. In addition, the idea of giving people the option to use a computer differently from Steve's own personal preferences would be so personally offensive to Steve defenders.
post #40 of 45
Apple patents all kinds of research. Research doesn't mean products at all. It just means it was an idea.

And btw the stand folding into the back was done 20 years ago or so. See the first laptop ever made. The folding stand is specifically shown in a documentary that Ives is also in btw called Objectivity. IT is on Netflix.

I don't see the iMac as is being made into a part-time touch screen tablet. It is too heavy. I can't imagine someone folding the 27" iMac let alone the 21.5" up/down on any kind of regular basis.
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