Apple patent hints at Multitouch laptop

Mac fanboys and fangirls, you might want to sit down before reading this one. All set? As you’ll recall, we talked with Apple partner and touch-sensitive hardware designer Synaptics a few months ago and discussed the possibility of a Multitouch-like interface making its way to the Mac platform. At the time, Synaptics’ VP of marketing, Clark Foy, told us that he didn’t think full-touchscreens would be making their way to the desktop any time soon. “You’re talking about altering the whole user paradigm of having your hands down on some user input device and looking at the screen,” he said. However, Foy did suggest smaller touch-sensitive areas might be integrated into products. Specifically, Foy said that “simple on-screen controls that show up on the edge of the display,” might be a possibility and confirmed that Synaptics was working on such technology with undisclosed partners. And who might those partners be?

From the looks of the latest patent out of Cupertino, Apple is definitely looking into the possibility of Multitouch-capable MacBook Pros. A sensor bar (ostensibly using capacitance sensors like those found in the iPhone) would sit just below the keyboard, where the touchpad is now. As you can probably imagine, the sensor bar would likely be used to input Multitouch gestures like those found in the iPhone OS. But wait–wouldn’t a sensor bar below the keypad register all sorts of accidental gestures from your palms while typing? Nope: the patent calls for additional sensors that would keep tabs on the position of your hands, effectively allowing the sensor bar to be automatically turned off while the keyboard is in use. Steve Jobs called Multitouch on the Mac “an ongoing experiment” when asked about it earlier in the week. Let’s hope this experiment bears some fruit soon.

For more on the Multitouch MacBook:
– see this PC Joint article

More stories about User Interface (UI)   Patents   Apple  


Multitouch already made it to the Mac platform when Apple launched iPhone. You have to revise your view of what is a Mac. After all, the iPhone runs OS X. How much more Mac could it get?

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