back to article Apple demonstrates how to do touchscreen desktops

Here's a sign that Apple is not only thinking seriously about touchscreen iMacs, but that it has a rather smarter view of the technology than its rivals. A just-discovered patent application - kudos to Patently Apple - shows not a touchscreen machine per se but a clever stand designed to make using a touchscreen desktop all-in …


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  1. jdap


    I'm hoping there's more to the patent application than 'look! look! you can tilt the touchscreen!'

    1. Ivan Headache

      There is.

      If you read the page over ar patently apple, you will see that the patent is not for the stand at all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Ivan Headache

        Thanks - 5 seconds with google has revealed what this is really about. Very interesting indeed. Shame none of the other commenters are doing the same.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No one does this for a few reasons:

      1.) Unless it is bolted to the desk, it will tip over. Physics 101.

      2.) Viewing angle. You have to stand up or crank your neck to use a device at that angle, causing pain.

      3.) PC makers make PCs, not mounts, stands and desks. People can buy the mounts if they want them...

  2. ~mico

    Prior art?

    Here, here, Apple's doing it again...

    I happen to own a couple of SyncMaster 971p displays. Though they're not touchscreens, their hinges are exactly like presented in the application, and, naturally, allow for a very shallow angle if such is desired, and even for fully horizontal display.

    Moreover, I'm sure I've seen a Wacom display-drawing tablet combo, which is too, naturally, touch-sensitive, and is also almost horizontal.

    Think Jobs's taking this patent thingie a little bit too far, ain't he?

    ...Mine is the one with patent application for a round device that helps lowering the friction while moving heavy objects... Think I'll call it "the Wheel(tm)"

  3. Richard Wharram

    Am I being thick ?

    ...or is Apple patenting the idea of putting a touchscreen on a swivelly mount.

    Touchscreens are existing things so are swivelly stands but put them together (omg) and you owe Apple ?

    I hope I've missed the point.

  4. Mike Wharton
    Jobs Horns

    Wait a minute...

    "not one has had the wit the figure out that users might also want a more shallowly angled screen"

    No, it's just nobody else thinks that such a - frankly obvious - design necessity deserves a patent.

    We've had screens that tilt for some years now...

    Patent madness.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    well there goes...

    ...any possibility of a useful non-apple touchscreen computer.

    Queue patents from MS which incline the user rather than the screen...

  6. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Not impressed

    I'm not really impressed with a lot of modern monitor stands. They are all a bit flimsy and the slightest movement seems to make the monitor start oscillating back and forward.

    Now look at the figure 4, which seems to be designed like a spring to test theories of simple harmonic motion. Touch the screen and see how many times it wobbles back and forth before it stops.

    A better idea IMHO is a prop leg out of the back of the monitor that allows the angle to be adjusted, but holds it in a more stable way. I haven't patented my idea because:

    1. It's probably been done already (and I don't i-work i-for i-apple)

    2. It's obvious to anyone (except those who work on i-touch i-screen i-monitors)

  7. ScarabMonkey

    Nothing new here...

    Sounds a bit like something Wacom have already released (and you chaps reviewed...):

    1. Anonymous Coward


      It's not the same as a 21" Cintiq. For a start the Cintiq doesn't do touch. Secondly, the stand isn't spring-loaded allowing for easy repositioning. Thirdly, the Cintiq doesn't have a accelerometer built in to it so it can switch view modes when it's position is changed. If you actually take the time to read **just the 'Patently Apple' article**, you'd know this, but it's much easier to jump the gun and denounce this as 'prior art' to sound like one of the 'cool' kids. Chaps, stop it. Hardly any of you, **including you bloggers/journalists**, have any real understanding of patent law, which is in very stark evidence, and all we end up with is a list of ill-informed rants and articles based on rhetoric and conjecture.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yawn, TC1100 *again*

    They weren't happy ripping off the form factor of the TC1100 for the iPad, they've also ripped off the stand too. Let me guess, the stand allows for portrait/landscape rotation too? Sheesh, they should have just photocopied a TC1100 brochure and sent that in for patenting...

  9. Iggle Piggle

    Another patent?

    Go to Google, click on images, and search for "touch screen cash register" and you will find dozens of examples of tiltable and touchable screens. Of course they do not look quite as pretty as the fruity offerings mentioned here but then they will probably stand a damn site more wear and tear too.

  10. .stu

    prior art

    The touchscreens in Argos already do this.

  11. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Apparently the Wacom Cintiq 21UX does that.

    Bloke at the next desk has got one. I'm envious. Eyewatering price, though - but that's just what you want with Apple, eh?

    And I'm not sure that you can touch type on this one!

    Presumably, too, the iPad can sit on a similar mount.

  12. ThatGuy


    Apple is patenting swivles?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Sooo

      Don't be daft, they are patenting a hinge.

  13. ReturningTarzan

    Maybe it has to do with...

    The centre of gravity being dangerously close to the front edge of the base.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That and the viewing angle means one has to crank their neck directly downward, causing pain even in short sittings.

      Either that or the person has to stand up to maintain proper viewing angle.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Hope this means

    That native touchscreen support will appear on Mac OS X soon. I'd like to see my Acer T230H supported on a Mac Mini as I'm planning to get one soon for experimental purposes (4 ports on KVM. Only three used at the moment. Not happy about how the wire on the fourth port is left dangling in thin air).

  15. Ralph B

    Note to Broker

    Buy shares in microfibre screen-cleaning cloth.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Greasy fingerprints all over the screen? No thanks. I'll stick to mouse + keyboard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      This is Apple, it'll come with white lint free igloves, they'll have a tiny apple logo to distinguish them from the generic product etc. etc.

  17. KjetilS

    I'm probably not the first...

    I'm probably not the first to comment on this, but...

    It looks like a very good idea to implement this, but I can't see how it is worthy of a patent. It's just a regular tiltable desk stand. I'm sure there are plenty of previous art: a generic touch screen mounted on a generic vesa mount (with tilt) for instance.

  18. Anon

    American patents

    Well, it can't be that obvious or it wouldn't be patentable, would it? I'm surprised no-one has thought of this before, not even Wacom with their Cintiq device. Oh, hang on...

  19. Doug Glass

    Oh Yeah!

    This works. Just move it closer, say within arm's length, and all is well. Why you can even make the screen smaller since it'll be so much closer. But for me this is a waste of time and effort. If I want a computer right at my fingertips, I'll just use my netbook. No screen smudges either; fewer chances of scratches too..

  20. Sgt_Oddball

    Wait a minute....

    Is it just me or does the hand touching the mac look alot like Adams hand in the "Creation of Adam" by Michael Angelo?

  21. frank ly

    Patent Award Conditions..

    I thought that patents could not be awarded for 'innovations' that were 'obvious'. That, as shown, has to be totally obvious.

  22. Jack Garnham
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see...

    Apple patenting something that is truly innovative for once, rather than land grabbing obvious stuff that people take for granted.

  23. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The same fundemental drawback

    All touch screens suffer from the same basic problem (yes, even ones blessed with a half-eaten fruit on the logo) - your finger covers up the thing you want to select.

    That doesn't matter too much with little media players, but it's a helluva problem when you're trying to draw or alter a picture. "Now where exactly does that line end? Oh yes, somewhere under my left index-finger"

    Same goes for cut'n'paste: with fingers the size of mine it's tricky to see exactly what words you're including and where the CnP ends.

    Maybe when Apple patents transparent fingers, so it's possible to see what is at the point-of-selection it'll become easier. But until then, I'll stick with a selection tool that does not obscure the very part display I want to make the selection from

    1. . 3

      Stylus required

      I think to take the drawing board simile to its natural conclusion, Apple would intend you draw on this with a stylus, or maybe even a glass with cross-hairs type affair. (Both have been done before by the way, so still the prior-art argument applies.)

  24. Anonymous Coward

    So simple...

    ...surely it's not even worth patenting?

    oh wait - this is Apple, and this is the US patent system. The unholy union.

  25. Tigra 07

    Lawsuits ahead...

    It will never work, for starters computer screens are bad for the skin in a real obvious way.

    Aswell as causing migranes, headaches and other skin and eye illnesses, they also make psoriasis and exema unbearable

    Getting closer to them for longer will just lead to a a lot more headaches and lawsuits against apple by lots of people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "computer screens are bad for the skin"

      "As well as causing migranes, headaches and other skin and eye illnesses, they also make psoriasis and exema unbearable"

      Is that why my PC is so flakey?

      1. Tigra 07

        RE: AC

        Possibly, although you may just need to get the dust off yours AC

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior art..?

    That's ridiculous. Surely you can't patent just a stand with two hinges. Drawing boards and desk lamps spring immediately to mind, and doesn't Wacom make a touch screen which is designed to sit flat?

  27. Raumkraut

    It's an iPad stand

    Aren't there already 3rd-party articulated iPad stands, using which the end result is the same as this?

  28. CmdrX3

    I still don't get it

    Logical enough solution, but quite frankly I still don't get it. I just seriously cannot see the point of dragging your monitor across your desk in and flipping it over just so you can use it with your fingers, if you are going to fo that, you may as well just get a touchscreen tablet. I just think companies are trying to force a technology into an area that just doesn't suit it well, particularly when that area already has a perfectly good input solution that works. It works great at info kiosks and is perfectly suited to mobile devices, it just doesn't fit with a desktop in my opinion.

  29. robin penny
    Thumb Up

    Do this with ordinary monitors

    At last !

    I'm not an Apple fan but this is a much more natural reading position (like reading a magazine)and it is obvious this will be the future with touch screens and maybe ordinary screens too. Normal monitor stands never have sufficiently low adjustment for me although some HP ones go pretty low. I bought an arm instead which allows me to do this already. We may even see indented desks in future to allow better ergonimics.

    The only real problems I see are with reflections and dust.


  30. Dan 10

    Are you lot wilfully missing the point?

    Clearly, the patent isn't in the 'hey look, we tilted a screen!' bit. *Look* at the diagram, it's a concept of having a monitor at arms length, or a tablet at your fingertips - ie it's doesn't just tilt back, it drops forward and down as it does so. It's a 'so-simple-it's-obvious' development as the Reg says, but it's the key to making a desktop touch-friendly. I haven't seen any other screens that do this.

    1. ~mico
      Jobs Horns

      Missing the point of patentability

      >it's a concept of having a monitor at arms length

      So, I will have to pay Apple now for being allowed to move monitor closer to me?

      >I haven't seen any other screens that do this.

      Try to read other comments here. And yes, my monitor does exactly this (and more, actually - it can pivot into portrait mode too), except it's not touch-sensitive.

      And it's even connected to my macmini.

      1. Ivan Headache


        Why not ignore the comments and just read the patent.

  31. Jim Coleman

    Erm... Windows 7 HP Touchsmart 300 PC already has a tilting multitouch screen.

    Nice to see Apple catching up.

    Next they'll patent digitizer pens, because my HP Touchsmart TM2 laptop has one of those and Apple hasn't done that yet either.

    Ho hum.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Read the patent Jim...

      Does your **not really designed for multi touch** <voice type="nerdy">Windows 7 HP Touchsmart 300 PC</voice> (catchy name, that) do what t **the patent** is talking about?

      Didn't think so...

  32. Parsifal

    Common Sense

    Apparently common sense is now patentable ?

    1. ~mico

      Yes, unfortunately...

      ... Apple forgot to license a copy.

  33. Zeke Thomas

    Article & Comments Completely Miss the Point!

    The innovation here is not the bloody hinge ... it's that the hinge has sensors, so that when the screen is angled horizontally the computer switches from an OSX device to an iOS device! When you tilt it back up, it goes back to your OSX session.

    There is no prior art on that folks.

  34. Ivan Headache

    It still appearsh none of the commentards

    have looked at the patent..

    It's laughable that so much ill-informed comment is posted whenever Apple apply for a patent.

    This patent is not for the stand, it's for what's attached to the stand.

  35. Anonymous Coward


    ...have been using similar (and rather better 720 degree) mounts for wheelchair users for at least 30 years. Don't Apple do any research into previous applications of touchpanels and surface devices....

  36. Barry Lane 1

    Oh, come on...

    With Apple's history of attracting patent trolls, is it any wonder that they'd go for a patent for this patently obvious design? I doubt they'd try to enforce it against any other company, but with this they have protected themselves from some opportunistic turd who wants to try trolling some similarly obvious tilty-screen patent in Apple's direction.

    Makes sound business sense.

  37. Diogenes

    Even Dan10 missed the point ...

    patently says what is actually being patented is the ability to switch between iOS & OSX mode being based on an inbuilt acellerometer or 2 "sweet spots" on the frame or a switch in the stand (or a combination) . From the patent application ...

    While touch-based input is well suited to many applications, conventional styles of input, such as a mouse/keyboard input may be preferred in other applications. Therefore it may be desirable for some devices to provide for touch-based input as well as mouse/keyboard input. However, a UI being displayed by the display device during a touch-based input mode might not be suited for use during a mouse/keyboard input mode, and vice versa. and

    The change in the orientation of the display could be detected, for example, by a processor based on sensor data from the sensor(s). When the processor determines that the orientation of the display has crossed a predetermined threshold, e.g., the orientation of the display has changed from a touch input mode to a keyboard mouse input mode, or vice versa, the processor could activate a transition process.

  38. florian mosleh 1

    prior art...

    i mean... really:

    1. Zeke Thomas

      What leads you to believe ...

      that Tyco monitor is capable of causing the attached CPU to switch OSes and input methods based on the screen angle?

      Either the majority of posters haven't got a clue what terms like "prior art" actually mean ... or else they just look at the pics, skip the article and write posts based on their existing prejudices.

  39. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    So, tilting the display sends a command to the software?

    I thought the iPad already did that, is that what we're looking at? And maybe some tablet PCs. Turn it upright (portrait) or sideways (landscape) and the display changes. Not necessarily supposed to reboot the PC to a different OS, though.

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