Snow Leopard's 'Keyboard Viewer' Sparks Renewed Speculation Regarding Mac OS X-Based Tablet

9 to 5 Mac observed at the launch of Snow Leopard that the Keyboard Viewer feature found in earlier versions of Mac OS X has seen several changes that spark speculation that Snow Leopard may be showing hints of utility for touchscreen hardware such as Apple's much-rumored tablet computer. Notably, the Keyboard Viewer application, used to show keyboard layouts in various languages, can now be enlarged to a size that offers "finger sized" keys.

151321 sl keyboard viewer
Image from Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac has picked up on the finding and extended the case to make a more complete argument for Snow Leopard as a touchscreen operating system. First, the report notes that in addition to the large Keyboard Viewer window, the option to activate the feature has been moved from the relatively obscure "International" section of System Preferences to the more prominent "Keyboard" section, hinting at movement toward considering the feature an input device.

The Mac OS has long contained a virtual keyboard, but previous versions were half-sized (see below). The old virtual keyboard was clearly not designed for actual typing, and was hidden away in the "International" tab of System Preferences. (Yeah, the keyboard could be enlarged by hitting the green button in the upper left of the folder toolbar, but still, it expanded to only three-quarter size).

The new virtual keyboard in Snow Leopard now lives under "Keyboard" in System Preferences, and is clearly put there as an alternative input method.

The virtual keyboard can be made as big as your screen -- 30-inches wide, if you have a big Cinema Display -- by dragging the window resizer at bottom left.

Cult of Mac also points to several new Dock features in Snow Leopard such as application-specific Expos functionality and large icons within Stacks as further indications of an evolution toward touchscreen-friendliness.

A multitude of rumors surrounding an Apple tablet launch later this year or early next year have sprung up recently, but little is known about Apple's software plans for the device. While the operating system would presumably be based on existing Apple technologies, sources have yet to come forward confirming whether the tablet will use a Mac OS X-based or iPhone-based operating system.

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Apple Announces 'Let Loose' Event on May 7 Amid Rumors of New iPads

Tuesday April 23, 2024 7:11 am PDT by
Apple has announced it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, May 7 at 7 a.m. Pacific Time (10 a.m. Eastern Time), with a live stream to be available on Apple.com and on YouTube as usual. The event invitation has a tagline of "Let Loose" and shows an artistic render of an Apple Pencil, suggesting that iPads will be a focus of the event. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
Apple Vision Pro Dual Loop Band Orange Feature 2

Apple Cuts Vision Pro Shipments as Demand Falls 'Sharply Beyond Expectations'

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple has dropped the number of Vision Pro units that it plans to ship in 2024, going from an expected 700 to 800k units to just 400k to 450k units, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Orders have been scaled back before the Vision Pro has launched in markets outside of the United States, which Kuo says is a sign that demand in the U.S. has "fallen sharply beyond expectations." As a...
iPad And Calculator App Feature

Apple Finally Plans to Release a Calculator App for iPad Later This Year

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:08 am PDT by
Apple is finally planning a Calculator app for the iPad, over 14 years after launching the device, according to a source familiar with the matter. iPadOS 18 will include a built-in Calculator app for all iPad models that are compatible with the software update, which is expected to be unveiled during the opening keynote of Apple's annual developers conference WWDC on June 10. AppleInsider...
iOS 17 All New Features Thumb

iOS 17.5 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Sunday April 21, 2024 3:00 am PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17.5 update for the iPhone includes only a few new user-facing features, but hidden code changes reveal some additional possibilities. Below, we have recapped everything new in the iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 beta so far. Web Distribution Starting with the second beta of iOS 17.5, eligible developers are able to distribute their iOS apps to iPhone users located in the EU...
Apple Silicon AI Optimized Feature Siri

Apple Releases Open Source AI Models That Run On-Device

Wednesday April 24, 2024 3:39 pm PDT by
Apple today released several open source large language models (LLMs) that are designed to run on-device rather than through cloud servers. Called OpenELM (Open-source Efficient Language Models), the LLMs are available on the Hugging Face Hub, a community for sharing AI code. As outlined in a white paper [PDF], there are eight total OpenELM models, four of which were pre-trained using the...
iPhone 15 Pro FineWoven

Apple Reportedly Stops Production of FineWoven Accessories

Sunday April 21, 2024 6:03 am PDT by
Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories, according to the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami." In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kosutami explained that Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories due to its poor durability. The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future. Kosutami has revealed...