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Apple preparing competitor to Microsoft Surface

Appleinsider (opens in new tab) has published some interesting details about a next-generation multi-touch 'surface' that brings together typing, pointing, scrolling and handwriting capabilities in a bid to replace the keyboard, mouse, trackball, touchpad, tablet and joypad as traditional input devices.

The 80-page long patent filling document was submitted back at the end of July 2007 and shows a number of interesting designs and concepts;

Based on the details of the filing, it can be deducted that the active surface would be around 20cm x 18cm which is smaller than an A4 sheet.

Appleinsider also reveals that the surface could be used as a digitising tablet using the finger as a stylus.

Apple has been very much at the forefront of user-machine interactivity - the iPod introduced the revolutionary click wheel while the iPhone brought touch screen to the masses.

It could be envisage that the Apple surface device would only be a supersized iPhone screen, although extras like hand motion and pen detection would give the user more features to play with.

Microsoft's Surface (opens in new tab) will the first commercially available touchscreen from Microsoft and according to the software developer, turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, interactive surface.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.