Rumors of Apple working on a touch-screen Mac have been circulating for years, and will only grow with the revelation that the company is hoping to patent similar technology.
A number of Mac sites on Thursday are pointing to a U.S. patent application granted for what would appear to be the mythical Mac tablet. AppleInsider has a description of the device discussed in the application, which appears to bring a lot of the iPhone’s multitouch functionality to a slate-like tablet computer.
Given Apple’ focus on multitouch user interfaces over the past year, there has been a fair amount of speculation that the company wants to do something similar with a larger, more powerful computer than the iPhone or iPod Touch.
The thing is, Apple’s explored this territory before: I found one patent reference dating back to 2005, and other sites are reporting that the current application is similar to technology Apple patented two years ago.
Tablet PCs in the Windows world haven’t sold very well, and the concept has almost completely fallen off the radar screen of the PC industry. That reluctance may be the result of software that isn’t quite advanced enough to match the hardware, but few people seem to want a handheld computer the size of a piece of paper and the weight of a regular laptop.