back to article Apple patent pic revives touchscreen Mac buzz

Just days after rumors of an impending touchscreen iMac were put to rest, a US patent application has been published that revives them once again — but with a twist. The patent filing in question, "Integrated Touch Sensitive Display Gate Driver", describes a display system that can be switched between touchscreen and …


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  1. Davegoody
    Thumb Down


    Would have been handy to be warned that the "MoFo" link was NSFW, especially with the CIO sitting in his office right behind me...... oh well, perhaps that visit to the JobCentre is looming

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: NSFW

      It's not any less SFW than the comments which often contain swearing, though.

  2. Russ Tarbox

    I hope that picture laptop...

    ...has a reinforced touch screen as those keys seem to protrude an awfully long way!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Breadbox Keyboard

      I noticed that.

      I was wondering if Apple were going to go all retro-futuristic, putting a Commodore 64 style keyboard and an iPad style display into their next MacBook?

  3. Andrew Barr

    Laptop Keyboard

    I have not seen a keyboard looking like that since the BBC model B!!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The most interesting thing...

    ...from the final diagram is this:

    Apple are clearly bringing back the Commodore 64 style of keyboard - look at the height of those keys. No wonder you need a touchscreen!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    I LOLed upon reading the letters "MOFO"

    For those who're not from stateside, look up the slang meaning of MOFO.

    Pretty self-describing, those patent trolls.

    Flame, because.

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  7. Fractured Cell
    Jobs Horns

    Damn It!

    If they get this patent, all my dreams for awesome laptops with touch-screens are going flying out the window.

    I just hope the patent troll/hideously-deformed-creature/overweight-american has enough common sense to turn it down.

    Who am I kidding, of course they'll approve it. *Mutters, contemplates murder*

  8. SlabMan

    Typical Apple

    All they do is take standard PC components, wrap them in a shiny case, and make a package that could be bought much more cheaply from Dell, to sell to fanbois blinded by the reality distortion field of marketing promising a computer that can be used by the kind of idiots who believe it's easy to use, when in fact it isn't, because you end up with a closed system that can't be tweaked in any way, as it is remote-controlled personally by Steve Jobs himself in his Cupertino lair. Some will be fooled by this latest round of marketing fluff disguised as 42 pages of complex schematics and math but those of us who can see beyond the hype know that it's just another rip-off from Xerox. When will the deluded fruit-fanciers recant their delusions and realise that right-thinking computer users must use no other than the same PC that I endorse personally. You're all wrong and I'm right!

    Why does nobody listen to me? I'm lonely down in the basement, and I'd like a friend…

    I hate the world.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Jobs Halo


      quote "Comfort Eagle" by Cake

  9. JaitcH

    Another garbage patent from Apple

    Apart from the fact they appear to want integrate the switch in a single chip (hardly patentable in a sane Patents Office) , or even on the screen, the balance of the circuitry, for switching the signal(s) appears to be somewhat mundane, certainly not ground breaking. Besides if they are buying the screen from someone else the chances are that this technology might be covered, already.

    It appears that Apple, with it's pile of cash, just patents anything and if challenged (or used) they decide to evaluate the worth of a patent.

    Most companies only patent really original ideas but in the US it appears anything goes.

    It would be interesting to learn what criteria have to be met within Apple in order to commence a filing.

    1. SlabMan

      Just curious

      Is that reading based on...

      a) having actually read the patent (all 42 pages)?

      b) knowing something about building touch screens?

      1. JaitcH

        It's simply a switching array that can be ...

        constructed with existing, off the shelf, integrated circuits. As I said the only variation is building it into a screen bur that increases the potential costs of warranty should the switch fail and require a complete change of a screen.

        I remember the HP touch screen, drove users crazy as flies could land on a screen and take a walk causing chaos.

        1. SlabMan

          So that's a no to both questions then

          The full patent is pretty interesting and consists, as you might imagine, of a lot more than the one schematic posted here. Of course the drawings in the patent are just examples. The patent itself goes into more detail of how production devices would give lower power usage, more accurate touch sensing and so on. Realising those production devices would require all new ASICs that aren't currently off the shelf - that's sort of the point really! Interestingly, the patent is not just limited to video displays. It also mentions that it's 'generally applicable to displays having other operating modes, such as scan mode, audio mode, text mode, etc.'

          1. JaitcH

            Mainly prior art and U.S. patent stuffing language

            Actually I did scan the schematics when I got back to my office (where I had the correct viewer loaded) and I again reiterate nothing spectacularly new, as in new technology. ASICS are customised for most every application so that's a nothing.

            The generalisation of the applicability is standard so that even the remotest similar use can be scooped into a patent licensing/fight at a later date. It is common practice. And what display can generate audio? Just literary fluff.

            Last year I saw very large process control screens in China and they had a touch area which permitted touch/gesture from the screen to be input. The new Tibet railway system also uses touch/gesture screens so the prior art has been in use for some time. All have switched inputs - often for safety reasons.

            Go and look at the Apple patent for their magnetic plug (US Patent No. 7311526) which is a total knock off of the connector used by Japanese counter-top cooking appliances except the Apple adaptation failed for several reasons.

            US patents are frequently used tp attempt to adapt others works which is why there should be be an international agreement brining all patent offices into line using a single standard.

  10. Keith 21

    So pretty much...

    "It appears that Apple, with it's pile of cash, just patents anything and if challenged (or used) they decide to evaluate the worth of a patent."

    So pretty much like every other company in the world these days, then.

    The key to the Patent Game is to have as large a portfolio as possible, so that if you infringe someone else's patent, you compare stacks, have a bigger stack than theirs, and you win (you then share some patents with each other and carry on your merry way).

    They all do it.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Addition? Yes! Replacement? No way!

    I think as an addition to the usual keyboard/mouse kit it would be good, but can you imagine the ensuing back-ache complaints from holding your hands out all the time to the a screen level with your face or on a laptop? Touch screen works well with the tablets and smartphones as you can move the whole device to a more comfortable position, but a desktop or laptop would be a nightmare to operate in touch mode all the time.

  12. Parsifal
    Jobs Horns

    Apple Invents,

    The touchscreen laptop , I can just see their press release now.

    It's amazing how many people out there act like it's the second coming when Apple brush all previous incarnations of a device under the carpet and claim its their idea.

    If the article about them preventing Spotify hitting the states is true I've yet another reason to avoid all Apple products, as if i needed any more.

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