Appleinsider has gotten their hands on a large patent filing from Apple that we haven't seen before, and it's loaded with plans for how a multitouch interface would work on a tablet Mac running full-blown OS X. It covers how small interface buttons will be handled, iPhone-like scrolling through lists, details on a full multi-touch keyboard, and a nifty pop-up scroll wheel. And on top of all that, it seems like it'll even work if you have freaky alien fingers! Let's take a closer look. The full QWERTY keyboard above has provisions not just for multiple finger keystrokes, but for accepting inputs from all fingers of both hands for touch typing, including multiple key combinations like ctrl-alt-delete and shift/option commands.
As for solving the problem of the many places in OS X where tiny buttons may be difficult to tap (window control buttons, for instance), it looks like we'll see the same pop-up monocle zoom as the iPhone for getting a clearer view of what needs to get tapped.
And a virtual scroll wheel design element can pop up when needed, and be manipulated with single finger swipes, or moved around the desktop with a double-finger drag. This seems like the most fleshed-out set of multitouch tablet tech we've seen from Apple. It's just a patent filing (dated April 15, 2008), but it seems like things are getting a bit more serious on the Mac Tablet front. And I maintain, being a patent filing illustrator has got to be one of the weirdest, if not best, jobs for someone handy with drawing. More at: [Appleinsider]