Apple has filed for new patents which suggest the company plans to implement multi-touch technology in some form of future Mac - and takes a step toward portable 'Home' folders.
The new patent ('Force and Location Sensitive Display') for multi-touch technology appears to describe the way the iPod touch and iPhone work. It describes a display that can act as an I/O unit capable of both location and force sensing. The company says this patent could be implemented in LCD, Plasma and CRT displays.
The second patent - 'Method and apparatus for selectively switching IC ports to card slots, Method and Apparatus for Rendering User Accounts Portable' - describes a way of making user accounts portable across different systems. User accounts can be handed across to portable storage devices and them shifted over to a different computer. They would be automatically recognised and imported into the computer, and would allow for portable user accounts.
Apple states in its filing that: "The multi-user computer system, e.g., through its operating system, locates user accounts on not only in local storage of the multi-user computer system, but also in any removable data storage attached to the multi-user computer system. Hence, by coupling the external, portable data store to another multi-user computer, a user is able to login to any supporting multi-user computer and be presented with their user configuration and user directory."
Computer users would be able to use these user accounts in the normal way, but any changes made or data added to the account while using another Mac would be automatically updated and added to the account held on the storage device.
Apple's plans to create a portable way of handling user accounts have been subject to speculation since 2004. The method of implementing this has always favoured the notion as an extra feature to be added to the facilities offered by iPods.