Now that Apple's marquee products - the iPhone and iPad - have gotten such praise for their high-quality IPS touchscreens, it looks like the company is looking at incorporating such displays on the MacBook line as well. Jack Purcher at Patently Mac looked at recently-revealed Apple patents for their IPS technology, and noted clear references to touchscreen-equipped MacBooks. With Apple putting such emphasis on touch with the new Magic Touchpad and magic Mouse, it makes sense that touchscreens would be the next logical step. And given that multi-touch is such an integral part of iOS, one commentator wonders if future MacBooks could also run a form of Apple's mobile operating system.

The patent that Purcher highlights relates to "increasing light transmittance in LCD pixels," but the hidden gem he found is a clear reference to touchscreen application. Talking about an "input structure" ith a touch-sensitive mechanism," the patent goes on to detail how "the user may select or interact with displayed interface elements via the touch sensitive mechanism" that would "allow a user to navigate the displayed interface by touching the display," which is a clear a description of multitouch in patent-ese as you're going to find. The patent also clearly indicates that the device using this technology could be "a MacBook, MacBook Pro and/or MacBook Air."

How you'd actually use a touchscreen Mac is a different matter. There's nothing inherently better about using a touchscreen rather than a touchpad or mouse to control a regular computer graphical interface like Mac OS X. In many cases, it'll be more awkward to touch the screen rather than use the built-in touchpad of the MacBook. John Brownlee over at Cult of Mac looks at this news and wonders if it means that Apple intends to build iOS support into Mac OS X. He talks about a "Dashboard-style" integration, which presumably means a separate mode where iOS apps would pop up like Dashboard widgets, and you'd use the touchscreen rather than the mouse in that mode.

Obviously, just because Apple mentions a technology in a particular patent, it doesn't mean we'll see it in a product soon, if ever. However, given all the resources Apple is putting into the mobile, multi-touch side of the house with iOS, the likelihood is that we'll see the two sides merge, and a MacBook - located right between an iPad and an iMac - is the place you'd expect that merging to happen.

Source: Cult of Mac