Apple Discloses Methods for Transitioning Between Mouse-Based and Touch Interfaces

132133 touch transition

Patently Apple reports on an Apple patent application published earlier this year that discloses how Apple might choose to implement systems for transitioning a single Mac computer between mouse-driven input for Mac OS X and touch-based input for iOS.

The method utilizes sensors such as a rotation hinge located in a stand for an iMac-like computer or accelerometer-based orientation sensors that could allow the device to function as a traditional desktop computer when the screen is positioned vertically or as a large tablet-style device when positioned horizontally.

The change in the orientation of the display can be detected by one or more sensors. For example, an accelerometer in the display can sense the force of gravity along an axis, and the measured force can be used to determine an angle of the display with respect to the ground (i.e., the plane perpendicular to the direction of the force of gravity). A transition between input modes can be performed when the orientation of the display crosses a predetermined threshold, such as when the vertical angle (tilt) of the display crosses a predetermined angle.

As another option, Apple proposes touch sensors located in the frame of the device's display that, when grabbed in the manner of a tablet and combined with a change in orientation detected by accelerometer-based sensors, could initiate a transition between input modes. In any of the described methods, the mode transition could involve a user interface transition between high-resolution mouse-driven actions and low-resolution touch-driven actions.

132133 touch interface

Not limited to desktop computers, Apple's patent application also depicts a notebook-style computer that could transition to a tablet device, with the operating mode adjusting automatically depending on orientation.

Apple has been expressing interest in touch-enabled Macs recently, with a multiple rumors on such an iMac making an appearance sometime this year. And while converting Mac OS X to a touch-specific interface would be a significant undertaking, one former Apple engineer suggested that adding an iOS layer on top of Mac OS X would be a reasonable undertaking.

Popular Stories

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

Tuesday February 27, 2024 11:05 am PST by
Apple has canceled all plans to release an autonomous, electric vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple has been working on an Apple Car for more than a decade and invested millions of dollars into development before deciding it was not a viable project. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams today told approximately 2,000 employees working on the Apple Car that the project was canceled,...
iOS 18 Mock iPhone 16 Feature Gray

iOS 18 Rumored to Be Compatible With These iPhone Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:31 am PST by
iOS 18 will be compatible with the iPhone XR, and thereby also the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models with the same A12 Bionic chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS updates. The post was spotted by MacRumors contributor Aaron Perris, and it has since been deleted. However, this was likely because the...
iOS 17

iOS 17.4 Coming Soon With These New Features for Your iPhone

Monday February 26, 2024 6:08 am PST by
In a press release last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 will be released in March, and the update includes several new features and changes for the iPhone. Key new features in iOS 17.4 include major App Store changes in the EU, Apple Podcasts transcripts, and an iMessage security upgrade. The update also adds new emoji and includes preparations for the launch of next-generation CarPlay...
applearcade

Game Developers Describe 'Smell of Death' Around Apple Arcade

Monday February 26, 2024 7:24 am PST by
Some game developers are dissatisfied with Apple Arcade amid concerns about the subscription service's future, a new report claims. Sources speaking to mobilegamer.biz described a "smell of death" around Apple's games subscription service and noted the difference between the company's investment in TV and music, and its interest in games. "At the very top of the company there needs to be a ...
iPad Air 5

iPadOS 18 Rumored to Drop Support for These iPad Models

Tuesday February 27, 2024 6:55 am PST by
iPadOS 18 will drop support for iPad models equipped with the A10X Fusion chip, according to a post on X today from a private account with a proven track record of sharing build numbers for upcoming iOS and iPadOS updates. This means that iPadOS 18 would not be compatible with the first-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro or the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro models released in 2017. It...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

Six Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Thursday February 22, 2024 4:20 am PST by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models concurrently, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different, and already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...