Apple patent hints at touchscreen Macs, iPad Pros with mouse support

If  you’ve been hoping for an iPad with mouse support or a Mac with a touch interface, a new Apple patent filing (number 20180314291) is for “transitioning between modes of input” including “a mouse-based interface, and a low-resolution input mode, such as a touch-based interface.”

Per the patent a change of orientation of a touch screen between a first orientation and a second orientation can be detected on a device. Transitioning between the two input modes and corresponding user interfaces (UIs) is based on the detected change of orientation. 

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A change of orientation can be detected with one or more sensors, such as an accelerometer, position sensors, etc. Transitioning from one mode to another can include modifying an item displayed in the user interface of the one mode into a corresponding item displayed in the UI of the other mode. The modifying can include enlarging/reducing, obscuring/unobscuring, moving, etc. For example, an item can be obscured by the visual effect of sliding it off of the screen.

Many types of input devices are presently available for performing operations in a computing system, such as buttons or keys, mice, trackballs, joysticks, touch sensor panels, touch screens and the like. Touch screens, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular.

However, in the patent filing, Apple notes that, while touch-based input is well-suited to many applications, conventional styles of input, such as mouse/keyboard-based input, may be preferred in other applications. The company says it may be desirable for some devices to provide for touch-based input as well as mouse/keyboard-based input. 

Okay, Apple, I’m ready for mouse support on my iPad Pro and my MacBook Air with touch screen….

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.