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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001


Patently Apple reports on an Apple patent application published earlier this year that discloses how Apple might choose to implement systems for transitioning a single Mac computer between mouse-driven input for Mac OS X and touch-based input for iOS.

The method utilizes sensors such as a rotation hinge located in a stand for an iMac-like computer or accelerometer-based orientation sensors that could allow the device to function as a traditional desktop computer when the screen is positioned vertically or as a large tablet-style device when positioned horizontally.
The change in the orientation of the display can be detected by one or more sensors. For example, an accelerometer in the display can sense the force of gravity along an axis, and the measured force can be used to determine an angle of the display with respect to the ground (i.e., the plane perpendicular to the direction of the force of gravity). A transition between input modes can be performed when the orientation of the display crosses a predetermined threshold, such as when the vertical angle (tilt) of the display crosses a predetermined angle.
As another option, Apple proposes touch sensors located in the frame of the device's display that, when grabbed in the manner of a tablet and combined with a change in orientation detected by accelerometer-based sensors, could initiate a transition between input modes. In any of the described methods, the mode transition could involve a user interface transition between high-resolution mouse-driven actions and low-resolution touch-driven actions.


Not limited to desktop computers, Apple's patent application also depicts a notebook-style computer that could transition to a tablet device, with the operating mode adjusting automatically depending on orientation.

Apple has been expressing interest in touch-enabled Macs recently, with a multiple rumors on such an iMac making an appearance sometime this year. And while converting Mac OS X to a touch-specific interface would be a significant undertaking, one former Apple engineer suggested that adding an iOS layer on top of Mac OS X would be a reasonable undertaking.

Article Link: Apple Discloses Methods for Transitioning Between Mouse-Based and Touch Interfaces


macrumors 65816
Jan 12, 2005
I've said it before and I'll say it again: a slim notebook (like the Air but smaller) usable as a laptop with OSX, until you fold the keyboard back and it turns into an iPad running iOS.

It will take over the netbook market.


macrumors member
Jun 2, 2010
I hate finger prints on my iMac screen , so i need to clean it every day..
please no!;(


macrumors 65816
Sep 8, 2008
The magical and beautiful iOS© coming to an elegant and amazing iMac© near you.

Steve Jobs
Sent from my iMac (running iOS)


macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2010
As long as they leave the full OS on the computer and just add an extra layer, this seems like a pretty sweet idea

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
Washington DC
Bring it on!

Only a matter of time now. I always thought that iOS on Macs would be like Front alternate reality you enter with a keyboard command. I imagined Mac apps on the one side and iOS apps on the other. In a way, kind of like running Windows within Parallels. 2 side-by-side OSes.

I can see I was wrong about that. Apple clearly wants the split to be WITHIN the app.

So I can use Mac-Photoshop with my keyboard and mouse, but when I slide the monitor down it changes into iOS photoshop and I can start moving stuff with my fingers.

It'll be up to the developers to make their programs Mac/iOS switch-friendly to live in this world.

It'll take more work, but ultimately it's a much better solution than my original idea.


macrumors 68020
May 25, 2009
Very cool. I think this is the future of the Macbook Air and the iPad - they're going to merge into one awesome device.


macrumors regular
May 27, 2008
Sacramento CA
gimmicky like 3D tv but it will sell like crazy...

this opens a whole new world of repetitive motion injures

Now if it had a pen like the wacom screen then it might be usefull

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
Washington DC
gimmicky like 3D tv but it will sell like crazy...

Maybe somewhat "gimmicky" for an iMac. But as a Macbook Air/iPad that you snap the screen in and out of? Brilliant.

iOS and the Mac will have to learn to play along with each other for that device. And once they not throw it in the iMacs too?


macrumors 6502a
Mar 16, 2006
I've said it before and I'll say it again: a slim notebook (like the Air but smaller) usable as a laptop with OSX, until you fold the keyboard back and it turns into an iPad running iOS.

It will take over the netbook market.

uhm that sounds pretty cool beavis


macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
I already think that iOS was the wrong choice for the iPad, so the million dollar question for me is who would ever want to use a toy operating system like iOS on a real desktop computer?

Besides that, the idea of this patent is so trivial that it shouldn't be worthy of a patent.


macrumors regular
Mar 14, 2010
Big step forward if they can pull it off. Still, the biggest leap in interface is voice commands and feedback.


macrumors regular
Dec 17, 2009
Why does everyone automatically assume that because it's going to be a touchscreen iMac it's going to have some iOS layer.

If this happens, they will just build 10.7 with touch. Nothing to do with iOS.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2009
San Diego, CA
Seeing those images reminds me of how the iMac g4 was designed. That setup was just begging for a touch screen. I don't see how they could ever top that design.


macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2008
This would make a killer POS device.. to bad no one makes any good POS software for the mac yet, just a few crappy half assed attempts.


macrumors regular
Oct 26, 2009
Article needs correcting

The article seems to make the strange assumption that it's going to be a "transition between OS X and iOS"... Which is of course absurd. There won't be two different OSs installed on the device, nor does the patent even suggest that!

The transition will be between "Windowing application for keyboard and mouse control" and "Full screen touch screen application".

For instance, a transition between modes of Final Cut between the keyboard and mouse mode for source setup, selecting the filters needed, and so on, then to pulling it down into 'touch' mode to do the 'hands on' editing work.

Maybe the editor should think a little about what they are typing would actually mean. "switching between OS X and iOS" doesn't make any sense technically, and is not mentioned at all in the quoted text. This reminds me of the "reverse hyperthreading" articles generated by 'tech journalists' misreading something, and thinking it means a technology that was actually impossible to create.
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