Patents are as meaningful as tarot card readings. You see one that might, maybe, possibly mean something and you see a ton of crap. But still, even if it's incredibly awkward and tiring to use a 27-inch touchscreen on a desk, touchscreen tech is the obvious future for computers. So it's no surprise that Apple has some patents up its sleeve that point toward a touchscreen interface for the iMac.
According to PatentlyApple, the new Apple patent published by the USPTO today shows new GUI elements that could help improve the potentially confusing layout of a hybrid OS X/touchscreen UI. Specifically, Apple is trying to fix knobs with a "new" knob/slider control that's easier to use and figure out. The effect is more visual and clearer in how the particular knob works (Patently Apple says there is a fill region that indicates the movement of a knob).
All this type of GUI isn't particularly groundbreaking but to elegantly transfer mouse and click actions to sensible touch and tap motion, well, the devil is in the details. Obviously, this little patent isn't hard proof that the next generation iMac will have a touchscreen display but it's clear that Apple sees touchscreen in the iMac (or at the very least, Mac OS X's) future. Read more about knobs and how they related to touchscreen iMacs at Patently Apple.
What do you guys think? Would you want a touchscreen iMac? [Patently Apple]