Shape Recognition on a Touch Sensitive iMac Screen?

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Apple's patent applications always generate a lot of interest as they are one of the few windows we have into the company's research and development labs. Some patent applications are more interesting or relevant than others, but we knew this latest one would generate some buzz as it actually depicts an old-style iMac with a touch screen (above).

This Patent application is called Shape Detecting Input Device and was originally submitted in 2004 with a continuation published today. It proposes that a touch screen could be used not only as a pointer/input device but also a shape recognition device to essentially take the place of a key/lock system. For example, a manager at a retail store could simply place a specially imprinted object on the screen to verify his/her identity. The lock/key angle isn't even as interesting as the fact that Apple assumes that a computer screen would come with a touch sensitive input.

Apple's been rumored to be working on multi-touch displays and even one report which claimed a 22" touchscreen iMac was due later this year. Having been originally published in 2004, it's interesting to see how long Apple's been considering the use of touch screens on their desktop computers. This continuation application was filed in October 2009.

Article Link: Shape Recognition on a Touch Sensitive iMac Screen?
 

mac1984user

macrumors 6502a
Dec 10, 2009
803
355
United Kingdom
Why is there this obsession with touch screens? In a handheld device (iPhone, iPad, etc), I understand - it makes perfect sense. On a desktop? Not so much. I prefer a degree of separation between my input and what is displayed on screen. Am I going to have to navigate using my finger and the screen and then move my arm back down to the keyboard to input characters? And please don't suggest that there will be virtual keyboards to replace external ones - virtual keyboards are utter-crap. The only way you could get me to use one is if it was full-sized and built into a table. I'm not reaching up to my screen to type in a web address - how awkward would THAT be?!
 

Chintan100

macrumors member
Jul 6, 2009
49
0
India
Very interesting. I have a feeling that we'll see some form of touch input to the iMac reasonably soon.
I agree.

Soon we will be surrounded by some trolls who will say "its useless..." , "i am not buying it... " etc. but when it comes out, soon they will buy it and start using it and **** forever... :D
 

Chintan100

macrumors member
Jul 6, 2009
49
0
India
Why is there this obsession with touch screens? In a handheld device (iPhone, iPad, etc), I understand - it makes perfect sense. On a desktop? Not so much. I prefer a degree of separation between my input and what is displayed on screen. Am I going to have to navigate using my finger and the screen and then move my arm back down to the keyboard to input characters? And please don't suggest that there will be virtual keyboards to replace external ones - virtual keyboards are utter-crap. The only way you could get me to use one is if it was full-sized and built into a table. I'm not reaching up to my screen to type in a web address - how awkward would THAT be?!
They will support touch does not mean they will ONLY support touch.
 

Neodym

macrumors 68020
Jul 5, 2002
2,057
615
Actually, something like an old iMac makes sense if you need to adjust the screen to use for better touch input.
Mmmh - back to the roots, eh? If Apple can put a 27" iMac on a simple "foot", they should be able to do so with a "flowerpot style" base as well (and to consider the lever force of a monitor arm they could make the base a little wider in size...).

Having the computer parts put in the base would besides also allow for the "thinnest iMac *mumble* panel *mumble* ever!" :D
 

baryon

macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
3,556
1,552
I don't really see the point of taking an object and pressing it onto the screen: wouldn't that scratch the screen, or at least leave marks on it, or make it dirty? Plus why would you press something onto the screen to identify yourself, when nowadays you have simple systems like RFID: you have a card with you and all you have to do is let's say... approach the card to the keyboard and the keyboard could have an RFID detector. I just don't think there's any point in using your slippers to identify yourself or something... And building a touch screen only for that... A touch screen Mac wouldn't be a bad idea, I mean, I'm not saying that the OS should be controlled by touch, but what if it could be a secondary input method, say, when you're on a MacBook Pro and you want to drag and drop something, instead of doing it clumsily with the trackpad, you could just drag and drop it by touching the screen. Or to move windows around and stuff like that... But not to replace the mouse or the keyboard, just to complement them.
 

talkingfuture

macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2008
1,216
0
The back of beyond.
I think they may return to that design for a touch screen desktop too so that you can tilt it flatter in front of you to use the screen more easily without having to reach out all the time.
 
Why is there this obsession with touch screens? In a handheld device (iPhone, iPad, etc), I understand - it makes perfect sense. On a desktop? Not so much. I prefer a degree of separation between my input and what is displayed on screen. Am I going to have to navigate using my finger and the screen and then move my arm back down to the keyboard to input characters? And please don't suggest that there will be virtual keyboards to replace external ones - virtual keyboards are utter-crap. The only way you could get me to use one is if it was full-sized and built into a table. I'm not reaching up to my screen to type in a web address - how awkward would THAT be?!
Agree entirely, though as Chintan 100 says, touch screen would be just an option. Also shouldn't affect the selling price. If it did significantly so, then my next desktop Mac would be a Mini.
 

2contagious

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2008
755
0
UK
wow, nice to see an iMac G4 again, although they probably just used it for reference. I mean.. this is a super old patent..
 

adrian.oconnor

macrumors 6502
Jan 16, 2008
326
3
Nottingham, England
"We don't need computers Woz, we need Blue Box's."
- Steve Jobs
I can't find any reference to that quote on the internet, aside from a couple of your posts here on MacRumors. I don't remember reading it in iWoz. Did you make it up?

Anyway, that's not the thing. The thing is, apart from anything else, it's grammatically incorrect. Should be boxes, not box's.
 

GoodWrites

macrumors newbie
Feb 23, 2010
26
0
Washington, DC Metro
The Time is Here

Direct input with our normal means of inputting or interacting with the world is a computer methodology a long-time in coming. I am not sure the actual input device would be as engaging as a direct finger to screen engagement, but this patent is nearly 6 years old.

It is time for Apple to do this. It is time to make the leap. The price might be somewhat higher at first, but the only way to drive down the price is to get the product on the market and allow the markets to drive the price down. There are already Windows based computers that have direct finger-to-screen input from at least 3 manufacturers.

Bring me a touch screen iMac so I can manipulate my photos directly!!! :)
 

Neodym

macrumors 68020
Jul 5, 2002
2,057
615
As patents usually are phrased in a way that hides the real intention as long as possible, maybe what Apple intends to do here could be a simple hand recognition. You press your hand/fingers against the screen to get access - no need for a scratchy token which could get lost/stolen etc. (we are not talking about really sensible areas - i would not want any part of my body to be in danger of getting chopped off in order to get access to some strictly confidential information or restricted area. "Nicely" depicted in "Demolition Man" or "Never say never again"...).

Also the patent talks of "a touch signal with a signet on a touch sensitive surface" - this could well be the touchpad on a notebook or a coated surface (= easy to clean) like on the iPhone 3GS or the upcoming iPad.
And a signet that identifies itself by form does not necessarily have to be made from metal or scratchy hard plastic - it could be made of foam or silicone -> no scratches, no finger grease.

And if Apple eventually would combine the shape recognition with its "behind the screen" cam patent application, they probably could even recognize fake attempts (by reading the finger lines).

This could be more than just some touch-sensitive iMac...
 
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