If you’re having trouble deciding between a MacBook and an iPad, it’s possible that Apple is working on a solution. Since Apple was just issued another USPTO patent (via Patently Apple) outlining the possibility of connecting an iPad-like tablet with an external keyboard device that resembles a laptop deck rather than Apple’s Magic Keyboard.
To put it another way, this gadget is an iPad with a macOS-style UI and a keyboard attachment that you can plug in. The patent title for this product reads, “Hinged keyboard accessory having numerous installation modes for a tablet computer device.” In addition, there is a lot more to it.
For starters, a stylus is included in the patent as a possible input method. In fact, the designs indicate a stylus slot in the keyboard hinge, which would be an upgrade over the existing magnetic connection scheme for the Apple Pencil, providing it could also charge in that location.
For the time being, it sounds a lot like a new Microsoft Surface Pro 8 or one of its predecessors. In contrast, Apple’s patent shows the tablet being put both in front of and away from the keyboard. If you’re looking for a similar experience to that of a 2-in-1 laptop, you’ll have to remove the tablet and re-insert it, rather than bending it around with a 360-degree hinge.
Also pictured is an accessory connection which may be used to attach a camera, projector, light or microphone, in addition to the stylus slot. To top it all off, if you connect in the display in the correct manner, the hinge might have a display built into it to show information like the user’s name, the amount of battery life left, and the date and time now shown.
This is a continuation of Apple’s prior patents, which provide innovative approaches to the packaging and usage of Macs. One idea from last year is to use a second display to show a virtual keyboard instead of the MacBook’s real one. Another illustrates how a Mac mini may be crammed onto a keyboard like an old-fashioned desktop computer.
Obviously, we must admit that these patents exist. These are mostly used to claim ownership of concepts before beginning construction, if at all. Even while an iPad Pro with a MacBook-like experience would be ideal, it may be years before we see one.
In the real world, we may look forwards to new iPad and Mac features in the near future. Apple is expected to release a new iPad Pro 2022, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and maybe an iMac Pro this year. Although we have no information on the suspected M2 processor, we are expecting to learn more about Apple’s forthcoming iOS 16, macOS 13, as well other software, at WWDC 2022 in June.