Apple’s iSlate: Digital Waveguide Touch?

Perhaps this isn’t related to the iSlate at all, but the timing is eerily coincidental.

A company called RPO, Inc. has filed for a trademark for “Digital Waveguide Touch” that encompasses a new multi-touch and stylus-based screen technology.

Word Mark
DIGITAL WAVEGUIDE TOUCH

Goods and Services
IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Electrical and electronic touchscreens for cell phones, personal digital assistants, handheld games, GPS devices, digitizer tablets, automatic teller machines, point-of-sale kiosks, remote controls, portable music players, control panels for industrial equipment, and car navigation and control systems; computer touchscreens; video display monitors equipped with touchscreens; electrical and electronic goods containing touch screens, namely, cell phones, personal digital assistants, personal computers, laptops, handheld games, GPS devices, digitizer tablets, automatic teller machines, point-of-sale kiosks, remote controls, portable music players, control panels for industrial equipment, and car navigation and control systems; electrical and electronic controllers for use with touchscreens; computer software for touchscreen controllers and computer programs for touchscreen controllers; accessories for the aforementioned goods, namely, optical components, light guide plates, lenses, and reflectors; component parts for all the aforementioned goods

Standard Characters Claimed

Mark Drawing Code
(4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK

Serial Number
79043762

Filing Date
August 27, 2007

Current Filing Basis
66A

Original Filing Basis
66A

Published for Opposition
December 22, 2009

International Registration Number
0937299

Owner
(APPLICANT) RPO Inc; Incorporated in the State of Delaware CORPORATION AUSTRALIA 124 Eggleston Road Innovations Building ACTON AUSTRALIA ACT 2601

Attorney of Record
David A.W. Wong

Priority Date
March 20, 2007

Disclaimer
NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “DIGITAL” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN

Type of Mark
TRADEMARK

Register
PRINCIPAL

Live/Dead Indicator
LIVE

What makes me suspicious are the illustrations at their website:

Digital Waveguide Touch™ technology, based on RPO’s heavily-patented polymer waveguide process, can be applied to any product that benefits from having a touch-screen interface. Products include gameplayers, cellphones, PDAs, GPS systems, automotive control displays, multimedia players, tablet PCs and a number of professional applications, such as ATM’s and Gambling Machines.

This new optical touch-screen technology will allow all mobile devices to have touch-screen input with acceptable or greatly reduced incremental cost, enhanced performance and absolutely no performance penalty on the display.

What’s interesting is that they point out the iPhone uses “projected capacitive” touch, which has a high manufacturing cost. And it rules out using a stylus or even a gloved finger:

10 dpi – only works with a human finger; no pen input

Whereas with Digital Waveguide Touch:

10 dpi – 250 dpi – any object

Could a stylus be used with the iSlate? It makes me wonder, given this quote from The New York Times:

Yet another recently departed Apple employee tipped me: “You will be very surprised how you interact with the new tablet.”

I will leave the pieces of this puzzle up to the techies, who can go look at this PDF for more information.

Additional:

Business Week: RPO, Inc.
Touch screen tech company RPO raises $19.3M

RPO Inc. today announced that on November 3, 2009, the company closed a supplemental issuance of its Series C Preferred Stock for $19.3 million from several existing investors in RPO, plus a new strategic investor contributed to this financing.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

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