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Apple Invents Multitouch Solution for OS X on Macs & iPad

Rumors about a 12.9 inch iPad began back in May. Apple also has several patent-pending inventions on record supporting a hybrid notebook-tablet or a tablet with a smart cover containing a built-in keyboard. Both Microsoft and HP now have tablets running with Intel Core processors doubling as notebooks with full productive software for the enterprise and students. Today, Apple's patent application clearly shows us how OS X is working on a touchscreen that could be used on an iPad or MacBook which opens the door to a hybrid keyboard, touch display device. While this year's rumors have pointed to 12.2 and/or 12.9 inch iPad Pro types of devices, you have to wonder if the display could also fit into a new kind of MacBook Air or the like that supports OS X and iOS. Maybe the rumors are about one and the same thing. While only time will tell how this plays out, today's revelations are very interesting indeed.


Apple's Patent Background


While using an operating system or other application with a plurality of open applications and/or application windows, a user may need to move from one workspace view (i.e., a first "virtual desktop") to a different workspace view (i.e., a second "virtual desktop"), move one or more windows from a first workspace view to another workspace view, or see several workspace views simultaneously. Exemplary operating system user interfaces in which multiple workspace views can or could be implemented include the user interfaces for the OS X, Darwin, RTXC, LINUX, UNIX, and WINDOWS operating systems.


But existing methods for performing these manipulations of workspace views are cumbersome and inefficient. For example, moving between one workspace view and another workspace view may require selecting an icon or other small graphical user interface object with a cursor, and/or remembering unintuitive keyboard shortcuts or other navigation commands. Such manipulations are tedious and create a significant cognitive burden on a user. In addition, existing methods take longer than necessary, thereby wasting energy. This latter consideration is particularly important in battery-operated devices.


Accordingly, there is a need for electronic devices with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for manipulating workspace views. Such methods and interfaces may complement or replace existing methods for manipulating workspace views. Such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface. For battery-operated electronic devices, such methods and interfaces conserve power and increase the time between battery charges.


Apple Invents Multitouch Solution for OS X for Workspaces and Far Beyond


Apple's invention generally relates to workspace views in electronic devices with touch-sensitive surfaces. More particularly, the disclosed embodiments relate to manipulating workspace views on such devices, such as moving between workspace views, moving a window between two workspace views, and displaying multiple workspace views.


In some embodiments, the device is a desktop computer. In some embodiments, the device is portable (e.g., a notebook computer, a tablet, or a handheld device). In some embodiments, the device has a touchpad. In some embodiments, the device has a touch-sensitive display (also known as a "touch screen" or "touch screen display").


In some embodiments, in addition to manipulating workspace views, the functions include one or more of: image editing, drawing, presenting, word processing, website creating, disk authoring, spreadsheet making, game playing, telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, workout support, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing and/or digital video playing.


In accordance with some embodiments, a graphical user interface on a multifunction device with a display and a touch-sensitive surface includes a plurality of workspace views. The respective workspace view is configured to contain content assigned by a user to the respective workspace view. The content includes application windows. A first workspace view in the plurality of workspace views on the display is displayed without displaying other workspace views in the plurality of workspace views. A first multifinger gesture is detected on the touch-sensitive surface. In response to detecting the first multifinger gesture on the touch-sensitive surface, display of the first workspace view is replaced with concurrent display of the plurality of workspace views.


Apple's patent FIGS. 5BB and 5CC illustrate a moving window from a first workspace view to a second workspace view.



In patent 5GG we see a two-finger pinching gesture on a touch screen to manipulate the workspace.



Apple's patent FIG. 6A is one of many workflow charts describing methods of operating a multifunctional touchscreen device in relation to workspaces.



While Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi has recently stated that the idea of a touch screen MacBook was basically dead because of advanced trackpads, today's revelations could keep the idea alive if it's part of a device where the display is detachable and used as a tablet. Whether this comes to be now or in the future is unknown but at least Apple has intellectual property on record supporting this notion which leaves the door wide open if needed.


In the end, it wouldn't be the first time an Apple exec said that they had no interest in something and then went ahead with it down the road. Apple's Phil Schiller openly and loudly snubbed NFC and now it's in Apple's iPhone 6 as part of an Apple Pay solution. So keeping an open mind would be wise. 


Patent Credits


Apple credits Julian Missig, Jonathan Koch, Avi Cieplinski, Michael Victor, Jeffrey Bernstein, Duncan Kerr and Myra Haggerty as the inventors of patent application 20140351707. While the patent is noted as being filed in Q3 2014, references date back to 2009 while not making this a continuation patent for some reason. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


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