Patent Hints Virtual Desktops & Spaces Coming to iPad & iOS… or a Touch Mac?

Mar 31, 2011 - 5 Comments

spaces-ios-ipad

The future of iOS is quietly shaping up behind the scenes at Apple, and we’ll probably get a good look at iOS 5 during WWDC 2011, but until then it’s mostly a guessing game. That is, until someone digs up some patents that show potential features in a currently unreleased product. Case in point, PatentlyApple has discovered a patent that describes Spaces (virtual desktops) in use on a “Multifunction Device” that looks a lot like an iPad.

iPad… or Touchscreen Mac?
While the patent drawing does look like an iPad, I think it’s just as possible that the multifunction device could be any touchscreen display, even for a currently unreleased touchscreen Mac. I say this because the behavior described in the patent is similar to how Spaces works in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, where you sweep between Spaces by using the trackpad. It’s also reminiscent to the multitouch gestures you can enable for iPad by using developer tools with iOS 4.3. Those gesture similarities could even hint at further merging and sharing of features between future versions of iOS and Mac OS X.

Last year, multiple patents showed up for things like a MacBook tablet, MacBook Touch, and even an iMac Touch that runs both iOS and Mac OS X.

You can see more details of the patent at PatentlyApple. Remember, not all Apple patents see the light of day as a feature or a product, but they can give us great insight into what Apple is working on.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, Mac OS X, Rumor

5 Comments

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  1. Ian says:

    Just look at the screenshots in the patent, it’s clearly Mac OS X Lion complete with Dock, menubar, identical Spaces behavior. This is not an iPad or iOS at all, it’s a Mac with a touch panel!

  2. […] with two divergent computing platforms: OS X for their PCs and iOS for their touch devices?  There are rumors abounding, but Apple’s very good at keeping it’s cards close to their […]

  3. Steven says:

    How about it’s coming to iOS THROUGH a touch Mac? I think iOS is going to be renamed iOS Pro for desktop and iOS Mobile for phone.

  4. mark says:

    You can swipe between Spaces using the trackpad already with BetterTouchTool

  5. […] down the road, as several Apple patents originally suggested such hybrid machines are in the works (touch Mac, iMac touch runs Mac OS & iOS, MacBook touch, etc). The basic idea is a single OS that […]

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