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Next iMac to transform to a touchscreen?

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By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 24 Aug 2010 at 10:30

Future versions of iMacs could feature innovative Transformer-like technology letting the machines switch between a standard display and an ergonomically-friendly touchpad.

The concept is simplicity itself, involving not much more than a hinged stand that offers a really shallow pitch when in tablet model, according to a patent filed in January but only recently uncovered by website Patently Apple.

The patent application also suggests that the action of pivoting the screen between vertical and flat would toggle between operating systems – and although specific OSes aren’t mentioned it looks likely that the machines could use OSX when in desktop mode before switching to iOS for its tablet function.


The patent outlines plans for “transitioning between a high-resolution input mode, such as a mouse-based interface, and a low-resolution input mode, such as a touch-based interface”.

“Transitioning between the two input modes and corresponding user interfaces (UIs) is based on the detected change of orientation," the patent application said. “A change of orientation can be detected with one or more sensors, such as an accelerometer [or] position sensors.

“Transitioning from one mode to another can include modifying an item displayed in the UI of the one mode into a corresponding item displayed in the UI of the other mode.”

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User comments

No no no no no!

I don't want greasy fingerprints all over my screen! It's bad enough keeping my iPhone clean. Unless they've also patented some kind of magic glass that doesn't get all smeary, I'm not interested.

By flyingbadger on 24 Aug 2010

Magic glass, as in the 'oleophobic coating' Apple claim to use on the iPhone 4? Sounds like a good idea.

By Noghar on 24 Aug 2010

It would make sense if people could actually choose which OS they want to use. Maybe OSX is not perfect for the tablet mode (strange, from what I've heard OSX is supposed to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT in any way...) but what's wrong with iOS in the desktop mode?

By Josefov on 24 Aug 2010


Have you seen how grubby iPhone 4 screens get? The screens seem to do nothing to prevent all those oild and fingertip grease. And of course they were nice enough to put a screen on the back so collect cr@p too.

By mbassoc on 24 Aug 2010

Agreed @flyingbadger

Touchscreens on small devices are okay, you can quickly wipe them on your shirt or pullover, when they get smudgy.

Until they invent a self-cleaning surface, I don't want touch screen on my PC.

As to the "transformer like" technology, you guys are getting desperate, it is a hinge, like any other monitors have had in the past - my Hyundai 17" TFT from 2004 does that, although it doesn't have a touchscreen.

By big_D on 24 Aug 2010

All Very Predictable

Who couldn't have predicted this?

I clean my iPad screen regularly so why not my next iMac?

By the way it runs Win 7 very nicely under bootcamp and I expect that a machine like the one proposed would be great for OneNote, which is a great application, spoiled by MS interface design.

By kaneclem on 24 Aug 2010

Patent insanity

Should Apple be allowed to patent 2 hinges and a sensor -surely this hardly counts as novelty!

By milliganp on 25 Aug 2010

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