Apple shows continued interest in touch iMac with adjustable stand

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    I have JUST the thing they're looking for.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCHblz_LsKc
  • Reply 2 of 45
    feynmanfeynman Posts: 1,087member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 45
    asciiascii Posts: 5,816member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,515member
    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.
  • Reply 5 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.
  • Reply 6 of 45
    Why not just have a touchscreen Mac and still have mouse, trackpad, keyboard and let users decide how they'll use it.
  • Reply 7 of 45
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    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.
  • Reply 8 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.
  • Reply 9 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.
  • Reply 10 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.
  • Reply 11 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.

    \
  • Reply 12 of 45
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,871member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,871member
    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.
  • Reply 14 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.
  • Reply 15 of 45
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,515member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,576member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    Just watch them backtrack and make a 7 inch iPad, too. I'd love to see how they'll market that.
  • Reply 18 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.
  • Reply 19 of 45
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,515member
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 45
    An Apple screen on a picture frame stand sounds familiar somehow...

















    Ah yeah thats it .
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