Apple Files Patent for ‘Shape Detecting Input Device’ Page: 1

Apple has filed a new patent that adds fuel to rumours that the company is working on a touch screen system for its iMac devices. A report by AppleInsider described the patent as a “Shape Detecting Input Device” developed by Apple’s Peter Kennedy.

According to the report, the patent is for a touch screen that recognises the shape of objects held against it. The system compares the object being touched on the screen with information about objects available in its memory and if they match, the system will carry out the action associated with that shape. The patent cites the example of using an actual key to unlock and access a restricted or encrypted system.

Peter Kennedy believes the new patent would find best use in multi-user environments where the same computer is used by many people. The object recognition technology would make different authorisation levels easier. If the patented technology is effective, it would create a system where, “each user [has] their own personal signet [shape-recognised object]. The user simply has to present his/her ring to the touch screen in order to place the computer in his/her preferred configuration,” Kennedy said.

The patent is only for the design of a shape detecting technology, but the system indicated in the diagram for the technology is an iMac. This has fuelled rumours first floated by Digitimes that Apple is working on a new 22-inch iMac, which is likely to be unveiled before the end of the year.

However, if the patent diagram is checked out properly, the iMac shown in there is an old model. So the possibility exists that Apple has used it just for ease of explanation. And with the Mac maker only having filed for patent, there is no guarantee that it has any plans of turning the signet-based system into a commercially available one.

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