Apple Multi-Touch Patent suggests next-gen MacBook Tablet interface

Chris Davies - Aug 28, 2008

Updated Apple patents documenting how the company envisages larger-scale multitouch displays reacting to all fingers of both of a user’s hands have added further fuel to the suspicion that a MacBook Tablet is in development.  The patent, 52 pages in length, suggests a full-touchscreen Mac Tablet with window-based GUI as in OS X; controls would adapt to finger input, expanding to avoid accidental overlap presses, horizontal, vertical or circular scrolling would be supported, and a full on-screen QWERTY keyboard provided.

Controls, such as option boxes, would enlarge when the thumb was placed over them, giving larger targets for a finger to press; they would shrink again either with its removal, after selection, or after a predetermined period of time.  Scrolling, meanwhile, would be similar to that on the iPhone; in one example, Apple suggested a system whereby two fingers would scroll and one finger select from the list.

Multitouch is also in evidence with the on-screen QWERTY keyboard, with Apple outlining how the shift key, say, could be held at the same time as letters selected with other fingers.  More than two simultaneous keypresses could also be recognised.

Scrollwheels, such as those found – albeit in hardware form – on previous-gen iPods would also be possible, appearing either when a certain number of fingers (e.g two) touched the screen or when a user touched a specific area of the GUI.  Apple describes a possible interface for iTunes whereby a single finger selects options (tracks, etc) while two fingers calls up the on-screen scrollwheel.  They could be rotated either with a circular motion or an upward/downward one.

The patent is an updated amalgam of previously awarded filings from the past two years. 

[via AppleInsider]

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