imageImagine a laptop that can instantly turn into a touch-screen tablet—a super-sized iPod Touch when shut.

Might this be the mysterious Apple product transition?

Clues are out there. Apple exploring dual-sided translucent touch-screen panels was the headline over an AppleInsider item from this past March.

Read Todd Jonz’s reminder of the above, as we ponder the nature of the transition. We’re talking about a real patent application. Click on image for greater detail.

Easier to use than Tablet PC, maybe

So what’s the bottom line? Well, could we see tablet-notebook hybrids that were lighter and better suited to e-book reading than Microsoft’s original Tablet PC concept? And maybe more rugged and cheaper to produce in the long run, with a simpler mechanical side? And more convenient to use? No need to swivel the screen around? Plus, you can check your e-mail when the clamshell is shut? A handy little wrinkle to use in lines at the airport, no?

iTunes and the B word

image Meanwhile, in keeping with speculation that Apple will take more e-books seriously, Mike Cane notes that the iTunes trademark has been changed to include the word "books." Here’s another sign of the folly of a Kindle-centric approach for readers or publishers. Oh, how we need trustworthy e-book standards to help personal libraries survive the inevitable moves from one hardware platform to another! Lack of DRM would help, too, as shown by Yahoo’s debacle.

Related: The rumored Apple tablet: A bridge between games and e-books?


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