Apple patent points to iMac Touch

A newly-unearthed patent filed by Apple could see an intriguing marriage between the iPad and the all-in-one iMac.

And the possible future of Apple hardware in the shape of the iMac Touch could herald the first step in the convergence between the company's currently-discrete operating systems, OSX which is currently confined to desktop and laptop duties, and iOS which makes its living powering smaller portable devices like the iPhone, iPod and iPad.

The always reliable Patently Apple has come up with the goods again in what it describes a "the mother lode of all information concerning the iMac Touch".

In the simplest terms, the patent describes a computing device very much like the current crop of iMac all-in-one computers but with a literal twist.

When the machine's display is in the traditional upright position, it operates in OSX mode using a standard keyboard and mouse set-up.

Readjusting the dual-pivoting stand (think back to the second generation iMac with its anglepoise-style adjustable monitor) triggers the hardware to automatically drop into iOS mode, complete with touch-screen interface and on-screen prodable keyboard.

This all done using a combination of rotation sensors in the stand and on-board accelerometers according to the patent.

We're sure the design will be completely transformed in the final product, if indeed it ever emerges, but the possibility of combining the power of a full-blown OSX iMac with the convenience, simplicity, low power consumption and humongous software library of the current iOS4 devices has got us rather excited.

If they work out a way of detaching the display and its internal gubbins from the stand like a giant iPad well have three.

Bring it on Apple!