Apple Discloses Methods for Transitioning Between Mouse-Based and Touch Interfaces
Apple could be planning to introduce touchscreens to the iMac by way of a hybrid interface, a recently discovered patent application suggests. The company notes that despite the usefulness of a touch slide off-screen interface, a mouse- and keyboard-based one is still better in some circumstances. To switch between the two, Apple proposes a design in which a computer's display would be upright for the mouse interface, but slanted down and back for touch.
To make the transition possible an iMac would need a flexible display stand, and a sensor to determine when to change. For the latter Apple proposes several options, such as an accelerometer, a rotation sensor in the stand, and/or a special touch sensor at the place people would want to grip the display. Past a certain input limit, a computer would automatically switch between interfaces.
Notably, elements of Mac OS X such as the Menu Bar, the Dock and the mouse cursor could be made to slide off-screen during the handover. Apple has not specified what the touch interface would be, but it could be iOS.
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