A newly unearthed Apple patent filing reveals what could be our dream computer – a touchscreen iMac that combines the touch smarts of iOS with the power of OS X. Is it just another one of an Apple experiment destined to remain in the vaults or could we really see a swivelling touchscreen iMac on our desks soon?
The Apple patent, revealed by the dedicated document hunters at Patently Apple, is the latest in a string of touchscreen iMac patents. It shows a machine that looks like the combination of an Anglepoise lamp and an iPad, quite different from current touchscreen PCs like the HP Touchsmart.
Buried in the details of the Apple patent, there’s an explanation of how the touchscreen iOS interface from the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad could co-exist with OS X. A built-in accelerometer would detect when the screen is moved for use as a tablet and switch the interface automatically.
The Apple patent also details touch sensors built into the bezel of the touchscreen iMac and controls within the software to allow you to set what angle would activate the touchscreen.
In the patent, Apple refers to a “a transition between input modes” so it’s not entirely clear whether the touchscreen iMac would jump between Mac OS and iOS. Running two operating systems at once isn’t impossible but could be clunky. Perhaps what we’re looking at is a future Mac OS with iOS DNA within it.
Images in the Apple patent also show a touchscreen Macbook suggesting once again that it is seriously working on bringing touch to all of its products. Documents referring to a Macbook Tablet turned up prior to the arrival of the iPad.
But as with any Apple patent filing, it’s best to treat these touchscreen iMac plans with caution. Apple seems fairly certain to bring touch to the iMac at some point but how it will do it remains up-in-the-air.
Let us know: could you see this plan for a touchscreen iMac using iOS tech working out? Or does the idea of a 27in iMac smeared with greasy fingerprints bring you out in a cold sweat?