Apple Files for Touchscreen/Tablet PC Technology Patent

by Reads (9,037)

Apple Computer has historically been one of the first to offer innovative hardware features in the technology market. One innovation that we have not seen however is a tablet device from Apple. Regardless, the talk and speculation have not yet ceased and now we have data to reinforce that an Apple “Tablet PC” or equivelent device from the other side of the fence should be on its way.

Last week Apple filed yet another patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for
“Gestures for touch sensitive input devices”. As listed on the patent, the abstract and portions of the description state details that clarify Apple’s intentions to release a tablet computer.

Based on the information stated in the patent application, it seems that Apple will plan to take the touchscreen technology well-beyond what we work with currently. Will we see virtual controls and a virtural keyboard that can be controlled by the fingers? It sure looks as thought Apple will go in this direction. Perhaps this technology will spread to the next generation of  iPods, eliminating the need for hardware controls? Time will tell.


Methods and systems for processing touch inputs are disclosed. The invention in one respect includes reading data from a multipoint sensing device such as a multipoint touch screen where the data pertains to touch input with respect to the multipoint sensing device, and identifying at least one multipoint gesture based on the data from the multipoint sensing device.


(select quotes)

“To cite an example using the above methodologies, and referring to FIGS. 6A-6G, a rotate gesture for controlling a virtual volume knob 170 on a GUI interface 172 of a display 174 of a tablet PC 175 will be described. In order to actuate the knob 170, the user places their fingers 176 on a multipoint touch screen 178. The virtual control knob may already be displayed, or the particular number, orientation or profile of the fingers at set down, or the movement of the fingers immediately thereafter, or some combination of these and other characteristics of the user’s interaction may invoke the virtual control knob to be displayed. In either case, the computing system associates a finger group to the virtual control knob and makes a determination that the user intends to use the virtual volume knob. This association may also be based in part on the mode or current state of the computing device at the time of the input. For example, the same gesture may be interpreted alternatively as a volume know gesture if a song is currently playing on the computing device, or as a rotate command if an object editing application is being executed. Other user feedback may be provided, including for example audible or tactile feedback.”

“…the user’s fingers 176 can be positioned around the knob 170 similar to if it were an actual knob or dial, and thereafter can be rotated around the knob 170 in order to simulate turning the knob 170. Again, audible feedback in the form of a clicking sound or tactile feedback in the form of vibration, for example, may be provided as the knob 170 is “rotated.” The user may also use their other hand to hold the tablet PC 175.”


Read the whole application here.




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