Apple patent details touchscreen iMac and/or MacBook

Apple Online Store“On April 22, 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an obscure patent of Apple’s titled ‘Scheme for Authenticating without Password Exchange’ which revealed a little something unexpected,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

MacDailyNews Take: Rumor has it that Al looked this one over at a recent board meeting and proclaimed it “risky.”

Purcher continues, “Buried within the patent images of this patent we find a flowchart listing a touch screen that could be associated with both a Macbook and a small form factor desktop. This supports two of Apple’s January patent applications regarding a touch screen iMac and MacBook.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application images, here.


  1. Apple’s a little late to the desktop touch market with HP, Dell and Sony having great units. But like Apple was late to the party for multitasking on the iPhone, maybe they’ll get “touch” on the iMac and macbooks right.

  2. Kiki we all are aware of how Apple aproches technology, slow by working out all the details.

    Now as you may be aware being the first does not produce the best and saying Hp and Sony has a sucsessfull touch screen computer is really going overboard.

    More like others have said a touch type control device as an addon and not as a full touch screen system. HP touch computer systems are lackluster at best.

  3. Lurker_PC:

    Much like fingerprints all over iPhone (and iPad) displays. We all know how awful that is, and clearly nobody is buying the devices.

    I don’t think you’re right about the fingerprint issue; it will likely be a non-issue (have you looked at iPads on display in Apple stores and BestBuys? Two weeks of relentless fingering by thousands of people, yet almost unnoticeable; I doubt they’re wiped more than once a day).

    As for gorilla arm, the only way you could get it would be if the touch surface were to be mounted above your elbow height. Who in their sane mind would do THAT (other than HP, Sony or Dell…?). You don’t hold your iPad above your sholders when you work/play with it; so why would you put your touchscreen iMac (MacBook) like that? The new multi-touch iMacs will be positioned horizontally (perhaps slightly tilted up) on the surface of the desk. And I have no doubt, Apple’s multi-touch sensing software will have proper algorithms to tell the difference between a finger point touch and a wrist/arm resting against the display.

    If anyone is really thinking that Apple would ever again build a computing device that isn’t ergonomically friendly, you’re forgetting lessons learned from the hockey-puck mouse of twelve years ago (for the younger crowds, google it).

  4. Predrag,

    Good point about the horizontal display. Yes a different form factor may solve the problem. I was thinking along the lines of a traditional form factor for a notebook and display, aka the HP unit. The horizontal display should be adjustable to reduce glare from overhead lights.

    Yes I have an iPhone (typing this message on it). As long as a dark background is not showing, yes fingerprints is not too much of an issue. I do clean my screen often though.

    As was noted in a previous post, Apple may not be the first to market but they usually get it right when they do. Thanks for the reminder to think outside the box a little when it comes to form factor – aka screen orientation.


  5. Touchscreen for desktops (and laptops to a certain degree) will never be a feasible proposition for any practical, long term work.

    It isn’t that Apple (or anyone else) can’t design an ergonomically friendly device… it’s just that ergonomics prevents such a device from ever being built.

    For work at a desk or sitting position, the head and neck and the hands and arms work best together when they are at approximately 90 degrees to one another. It’s just the way we’re built.

    Horizontal positioning of a touch screen for the best position for hands and arms won’t be ergonomically proper for the neck… in the same way that vertical positioning for the head and neck isn’t a good position for the hands and arms.

    These factors are non-reconcilable. Trying to make it work is an attempt to have your cake and eat it, too.

    Now, if Apple wanted to sell me a user-customizable, pen sensitive, touch screen extended keyboard… that I would pay good money for.

  6. Leodavinci:

    What you are saying is in contradiction with the history of humanity. Until about 30 years ago, everything that humans did was fully interactive. We directly interacted (and still do) with the object of our work: writing, drawing, drilling, cutting, grinding, scraping, folding, squeezing, pinching, stretching… The only minor exception in this paradigm is — the computer. Unlike sitting at a desk and using a writing instrument (pen, pencil, etc) to write on paper, we have this illogical, unintuitive system where the object of our work is split in two disconnected pieces: a feedback unit (a.k.a. the Display), which shows us the result of our work, and stands upright in front of our face, and a control units (a.k.a. the Keyboard and the Mouse), which are sitting on top of our desk, next to each other, which we use to give instructions to the device that facilitates work (a.k.a. the Personal Computer). Every new generation of people has to be taught how to work this set of devices: you press a key here, something seemingly unrelated appears on a display 3ft away. You move this device (mouse) here, something moves along the display over there. We all learn how this (unintuitive) system works and accept it. Meanwhile, nobody needs to be taught how to get a pencil to make a line on paper; it is intuitive, because you work directly on the object of your work.

    Ergonomically, writing on a flat surface was NOT an issue for the length of the development of humans as a species. I have little doubt, it won’t be an issue if we go back to working on a flat desk surface. Whether it is a pen and a piece of paper, scissors and cloth, hammer, nail and piece of wood, or touch-screen display, the position of our body is perfectly natural.

    We’ll have to wait and see if this comes to be, but I am more and more certain that 5 years from now, standard Apple hardware will no longer come with keyboards and/or mice. Not even Mac Pros. Of course, if your work really requires one, you’d be able to get an optional one.

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