• More Name Games: What's a "Magic Slate?"

    Following the revelations that the islate.com domain had been registered by Apple, there has been widespread speculation that "iSlate" was to be the name Apple will give the long-rumored tablet device. Now reports that the term iSlate itself was trademarked by a mysterious corporation are followed by discovery of a second trademark by the same firm: "Magic Slate." Pundits are now arguing over whether that name will be used for the new tablet, or for a separate product to be released in the not-too-distant future.

    On November 21, 2006, according to Tech Crunch, a Delaware corporation by the name of Slate Computing, LLC registered a US "word mark" for ‘iSlate’. A word mark is a type of trademark claiming rights for a particular word, set of letters or numbers, or a slogan. Trademark protection of a word mark provides broader protection than just a trademarked logo of those words, because it gives the word mark holder control over all appearances and uses of the words. Tech Crunch also notes that the domains islate.co.uk, islate.info and islate.biz, were all registered on the same week: 17 November 2006.

    MacRumors now reports on a discovery by the German website fscklog that "iSlate" is not the only word mark the otherwise unknown company owns: they also hold a word mark for "Magic Slate" as well.

    With the rumor mill working overtime around the iSlate revelation, the "Magic Slate" discovery has been tossed on the pile. Could Apple have that in mind as the name for their new all-in-one e-reader, portable media player, next-best-thing-since-sliced-bread device? MacRumors makes a credible case that it's not as likely: Apple uses names beginning with the lower case i (iMac, iPod, iPhone) for standalone devices themselves, where "Magic" has recently been introduced as a name for multitouch peripherals with the Magic Mouse.

    So could the Magic Slate be a new multitouch trackpad that could incorporate some of the technologies Apple has been taking out patents right and left for? One of the Apple patent applications revealed this week was for something called a "Multipoint Touch Surface Controller" that uses transparent touch sensors and does not require an opaque surface.

    While virtually all commercially available touch screen based systems available today provide single point detection only and have limited resolution and speed, other products available today are able to detect multiple touch points. Unfortunately, these products only work on opaque surfaces because of the circuitry that must be placed behind the electrode structure.
    The peripheral would combine the electronics to run the multi-touch sensor and the sensing circuitry in a single device. According to the patent application, this would be an improvement over existing multi-touch technology, with a greater number of detectable points on its surface because of the size of the sensing circuitry.

    image via AppleInsider
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