On July 10, 2008, the US Patent & Trademark Office published three distinct Apple API patent applications pertaining to scrolling, gesturing and Synchronization. Although the patents were interesting unto themselves, the surprise and secret to both lay deep within: Designs for a notebook-tablet. The patent's design of the proposed device confirms Apple's marketing approach. While details are scant at the moment, we're sure to learn more about such a notebook-tablet in future patent filings. Many students in the Mac community have expressed an interest in this type of device over the years. And with Apple's advanced gesture, sensor and multitouch patents being incorporated into such slick products as the iPhone and iPod touch, their leadership in such product design is solid and proven. With Apple having launched their new App Store last week in support of the new 3G iPhone, I'm sure that the next online store in mind for Apple is one that will support electronic books: One that will be a natural fit for the coming notebook-tablet shown in patent FIG. 33C below.
Apple's Notebook-Tablet Concept Design
Apple's patent FIG. 33A illustrates a laptop device (3300) with a keyboard, display frame (3306) and a display. According to Apple's patent, the laptop device could be converted into a tablet device as illustrated in FIG. 33B and FIG. 33C. FIG. 33B illustrates the conversion of the laptop device into a tablet device. An edge of a display frame (3356) containing a display (3358) slides within the body (3354) across the top of a keyboard (3352) until forming a tablet device as illustrated in FIG. 33C. The tablet device with a display (3362) and a display frame (3366) rests on top of a body (3360). Even though it's just a rough patent draft - That's one cool design - Mr. Ives!
Knowing that touch technology is coming to the iMac, extending it right through to a notebook-tablet will give developers all the more reason to celebrate in the coming years. It will also assure us all that we'll be seeing a lot more applications and video games in the future.
Apple originally filed this patent application in January 2007, just as the iPhone was being introduced at MacWorld.
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