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Apple Gesture Patent App Suggests Tablet

TMO Reports - Apple Gesture Patent App Suggests Tablet

by , 3:05 PM EST, February 3rd, 2006

A patent application from Apple Computer offers yet more evidence that the company is contemplating production of a tablet computer. The patent application covers methods for gesture input on a touch-sensitive screen, and accompanying illustrations show usage of the methods on a tablet-like form factor. Perhaps more importantly, the date of the patent application, titled "Gestures for touch sensitive input devices" itself shows, January 31st, 2005, actively demonstrates that Apple has worked on the technologies involved in the recent past.


Patent application illustration showing gestures.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image.)

From the description of the patent, "Methods and systems for processing touch inputs are disclosed. The invention in one respect includes reading data from a multipoint sensing device such as a multipoint touch screen where the data pertains to touch input with respect to the multipoint sensing device, and identifying at least one multipoint gesture based on the data from the multipoint sensing device."

The specific (abridged) claims of this app are as follows:

  1. A computer implemented method for processing touch inputs
  2. A method of invoking a user interface element on a display via a multipoint touch sensitive device of a computing system
  3. A computer implemented method for processing touch inputs
  4. A method for recognizing a zoom gesture made on a multipoint touch sensitive device
  5. A method for recognizing a pan gesture made on a multipoint touch sensitive device
  6. A method for recognizing a rotate gesture made on a multipoint touch sensitive device
  7. A computer implemented method for initiating floating controls via a touch sensitive device
  8. A computer implemented method of initiating a page turn via a touch sensitive device

Other patent applications filed by Apple have also invoked imagery of a tablet form factor, including one for an "Electronic Device" filed in March of 2004. The company also filed a design patent in Europe in 2004 for a tablet computer.

The newest application adds to the tablet evidence by focusing on methods for interfacing with the tablet, which is pictured in the accompanying illustrations without a keyboard. Hrmph.com also noted that at least some aspects of the application include such elements as a virtual scroll wheel, similar to the iPod's.


Patent application illustration showing a gesture-based virtual scroll wheel.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image.)

The patent was first reported by Hrmph.com, which posted some additional images, as well as an animation showing some of the gestures at work (scroll to the bottom of the article for the animation).

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