Report: Apple Mulling Ways to Bring Touch Screens to Macs

Report: Apple Mulling Ways to Bring Touch Screens to Macs

Apple appears to be investigating ways to do away with the iMac’s keyboard, replacing it with a touchscreen that should detect shapes, such as a key. Harkening back to the days when letters were sealed with insignias to prove the sender’s identity, the Cupertino, Calif. company would use “signets” for security-related tasks.

The shape-detecting technology, first outlined in a 2004 patent, then updated Oct. 30, 2009, permits “improved techniques to allow different authorization levels” on computer networks.

“The user simply has to present his/her ring to the touch screen in order to place the computer system in his/her preferred configuration,” Apple notes in the patent application. The technology could also provide a way to allow different security levels, such as user or network administrator.

Although the iPhone’s multi-touch technology has spread to other devices, such a notebook trackpads, no mention is made in this patent application.

In January, a Chinese publication wrote that Apple would introduce in 2010 a 22-inch iMac that includes a touchscreen. The latest iMac refresh, in 2009, included an LED-backlit screen.

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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