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Friday, October 01, 2010, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

Apple rumored to be testing touchscreen panels for new iMac

Rumors of a touchscreen desktop iMac continue to persist, with a new report on Friday alleging that Apple is testing potential displays for the supposed hardware.

Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes said that Sintek Photronics has sent samples of capacitive touch panels to Apple for a new touchsreen all-in-one iMac desktop computer. The report claimed that the new hardware will have screen sizes of 20 inches and greater.

"The new iMac is rumored to have a good vertical and horizontal viewing angle, and its projected capacitive touch panel will adopt a one-glass solution, which integrates the touch sensor and cover glass, to reduce thickness and weight," the report said.

It noted that most touch panels are made by placing the sensor over the panel, and are then covered with glass. But it is said this method is costly, complex, and results in a dimmer screen.

It was said that Sintek Photronics "has a good chance" of becoming a supplier for the alleged new line of iMacs. No projected release date for the rumored hardware was given.

In January of this year, rumors indicated that a 22-inch touchscreen iMac would launch this year. But the claims in Friday's report that Apple is still testing touch panels would suggest that a 2010 launch is not likely.

A number of patent applications from Apple this year show touch-capable iMac-style desktop computers. One interesting filing shows a machine that could operate in a traditional format, but with a hinge on the back that would allow it to be tilted for easier access for a user's fingertips.

Touch-screen iMac touch mode


Another application described a desktop screen that could detect shapes and objects pressed against it. It described a machine that would allow new types of input, such as a security system that required a physical key to be pressed against the screen and detected.