Apple to wield patent portfolio with new Multi-Touch™ MacBooks?

“It’s time to turn our attention to… that ‘future product transition’ Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer mentioned several times on the company’s recent earnings conference call,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for BusinessWeek. “The smart money is on a revamp of Apple’s notebook line. I know I’m not the first to opine on the matter, but here’s why I’m expecting new iterations of the MacBook Pro to be a big part of the lineup that Apple expects to help narrow gross margins to 30% in fiscal 2009, from 35% in the third quarter, which wrapped up in June.”

“The first clue is the drop in margins itself,” Hesseldahl writes. “There are really two ways to reduce margins: Cut prices or increase the cost of the product by adding or improving features… MacBooks [includes MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air] accounted for about 60% of the computers Apple sold in fiscal 2007, and while they’ve sold like crazy, they haven’t seen a serious redesign in several years.”

“The most likely place to look for change is in the display screen. Expect a multitouch display similar to that found on the iPhone and the iPod touch. Apple has a solid set of patents on the new technology and has boned up on multitouch tech through the iPod line,” Hesseldahl writes. “I’m thinking a small MacBook with a multitouch screen that measures about 9 or 10 in. will be among the ‘several wonderful new products’ Jobs referred to in the earnings press release issued July 21.”

“Imagine the possibilities. Zoom in on pictures or documents easily, using a motion similar to that of the ‘pinch’ that makes the iPhone so great,” Hesseldahl writes. “You could ‘zoom’ in and out of the desktop, letting you arrange tasks as easily as you would pieces of paper on your real desk, and just as easily zoom in and out of applications.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]


  1. The product transition is NOT the MacBook Touch or even MacBooks with touch screens..

    It is the iPod line going touch.

    iPod nano will become iPod nano touch.

    iPod classic will be replaced by the iPod touch..

    Every portable device made by Apple will now have access to the “App Store.” That’s what it’s all about.

  2. I’m still not sure I understand what exactly people are predicting. Realizing that we’re mostly guessing at this point, are people expecting a tablet, vaguely resembling a giant iPhone, or a book that opens and closes. If it’s a book, will it have a regular keyboard and a multi-touch screen, or a multi touch keyboard as well as screen?

    Or are these the things we are all wondering?

  3. I wholeheartedly believe Multi-Touch can make tablet computers the next big thing. Ironic that Apple may be the one to make that market’s growth explode, given that Bill Gates has been trying to push tablet PCs for years. I would definitely buy a Multi-Touch tablet.

  4. I seriously doubt it will be a full sized display / touch screen. Just imagine how tired your arm will get by having to constantly get it up there to touch the screen. If anything it will be like Mac+ suggested… a virtual keyboard.

    My money is on something entirely different. I think it will be something from PA Semi, like new interface chips that greatly enhance the performance of the processors, or even something else way out there. Remember, it’s something that Apple’s competitors cannot easily duplicate.

  5. A touch screen notebook doesn’t make any sense to me. A tablet on the other hand, makes sense. I personally wouldn’t want to be touching my screen on my computer and smearing it like the iPhone unless it is for a really good reason. The only good reason would be a tablet form factor.

  6. How about a large trackpad that functions like the iPod Touch. You could have a row of icons that you choose, just like in the dock. Have one for your mail, browser, etc. This would be better than trying to squeeze dedicated keys on a laptop like many PC makers do. Just an idea.

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