Apple working on its own UMPC?

Virtual keyboard from Apple

Recent patent applications filed by Apple would suggest that it is considering its own UMPC-type device. In the most recent application, Apple is apparently working on a virtual QWERTY arc-shaped keyboard that looks quite similar to Microsoft’s Touchpack software except that it’s one arc rather than the two that Microsoft came up with. Apple describes the operation as working by “activation of virtual keys of a touch screen keyboard”.

This follows an earlier patent that used gestures on touch sensitive screens. That patent made mention of a virtual scroll wheel as well as gestures involving several fingers to manipulate screen elements. Diagrams that accompanied that application showed a device of comparable size to a UMPC.

Another patent filing describes another type of virtual keyboard that would appear somewhere on the screen as required by different applications.

It will be interesting to see where Apple goes with these patent applications.

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