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Apple's Got The Touch: Patents Show Touch-Screen iMac, MacBook

A series of patent applications shows that Apple is looking to broaden its touch-screen product base to include the iMac and MacBook.

Apple is apparently embarking on a touch-screen frenzy, taking the technology that made its now-iconic iPhone and iPad best-sellers and putting into an iMac, according to a patent application Apple filed last month.

According to the Patently Apple blog, a blog that follows Apple's patent activity, a series of patent applications filed by Apple illustrates a computer that alternates between mouse and keyboard input and touch-screen-based input. The computer resembles an iMac with an adjustable stand, which can keep it upright or tilt it to be used like an iPad. The machine, as outlined in the patent application, switches between touch-screen and traditional input based on the screen's position.

One of the patent applications features an iMac-like computer on a hinged stand that moves from an upright position to a downward position to enable touch-screen input. The machine features technology that detects which position it is in to automatically alternate between input modes. The filings indicate that when the device moves from traditional mouse and keyboard input to touch screen it also alternates from OSX to iOS.

Another patent application, meanwhile, demonstrates a MacBook with a swiveling touch screen that can rotate or lay flat against the keyboard with touch-screen capabilities. That MacBook can switch between standard laptop functionality or act as a tablet.

The new touch-screen capabilities planned for the MacBook fall in line with an earlier touch-screen patent application that shows a MacBook with the same touch technology that Apple used in the iPad's display, but mixes it with a traditional laptop.

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