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Wednesday, December 19, 2007, 03:45 pm PT (06:45 pm ET)

Apple job posts hint at multi-touch Macs; iMacs suffer off-color LCDs

Apple Inc. is recruiting testing engineers to help produce multi-touch Macs. Meanwhile, the company is cracking down on complaints of color problems with iMac displays, and Quicken is near completion of a web finance tool for the iPhone.

Apple seeks reliability engineer for multi-touch Macs

The development of multi-touch displays at Apple is expanding to the company's Mac division, according to a job listing on the firm's website.

Originally found by Engadget, the description asks for an engineer familiar with stress testing and other experiments on pre-production hardware who will support both "Mac and iPod hardware groups" for new technology.

The posting reflects an increasing amount of abstraction for touch input at the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant. A second job posting, discovered by AppleInsider, is aimed at recruiting a senior hardware engineer for a Touch Technology team and focuses on creating new multi-touch flat panels for a variety of devices, regardless of their exact role.

"Pushing the envelope to design and ship innovative products (like the iPhone) with best-in-class technologies and user experiences is the main goal of the touch technology team at Apple," the posting reads.

People familiar with the matter have previously confirmed with AppleInsider that the Mac maker is developing a Newton-like slate computer, while multiple patents have been filed for advanced touch interfaces that can be used both inside and outside of displays.

Aluminum iMacs plagued by off-color LCDs

Owners of Apple's latest iMac models have been newly rebuffed in their attempts to resolve color gradient flaws on their systems' screens, according to reports.

Beginning the day of the all-in-one computers' launch in early August, threads in Apple's support discussions have surfaced that complain of screens with fading colors or with conspicuous color banding, either of which can cover some or all of the display and frequently make precise visual editing impossible.

"As a graphic designer I could not keep the iMac because the gradient was pretty pronounced on my display," says one discussion member. "It was darker on top and a lot lighter on the bottom, [and] therefore I could not see solid colors."

However, while thousands of users have posted to or viewed the threads, the system builder has in recent days begun locking down these discussions and sometimes deleting them entirely, preventing owners from voicing their concerns.

The issue primarily affects 20-inch iMac models, but has also been reported on a small number of 24-inch units. Apple engineers are reportedly aware of the screen flaws.

Quicken to appear as iPhone web service

Intuit is prepping a web-based version of its Quicken financial software as an iPhone-oriented online service, the company has revealed this week.

While the service will run on multiple mobile devices and full-sized computers, its initial format is designed with the Apple handset in mind and should appeal to a young, technically-savvy audience that may never have used dedicated financial software in the past, Intuit says. The functionality will resemble the basic retail software and allow users to download bank information as it's updated and track spending.

Instead of an up-front cost, the company will charge a $3 monthly subscription fee to use the service. An introduction is scheduled for January 8th, a week before the start of the Macworld San Francisco expo on the 15th.