Apple Patents iPad Accessory That Could Transform Tablet into MacBook-like Hybrid Device
A new patent filed by Apple suggests that in the future, an iPad or its operating system could transform the tablet’s user experience into that of a Mac once it is hooked up to an external keyboard.
First spotted by Patently Apple, the document details several methods of implementing such a system. However, keep in mind that Apple is no stranger to patents. It regularly files applications and lays claim to ideas, but only a few of them ever see the light of day.
The patent describes a base device with all the functionality of a keyboard and a trackpad that could be connected to a portable device like an iPad. The images in the filing reveal a system in which the iPad can be undocked from the keyboard accessory, just like how it works with the Apple Magic Keyboard today. The critical difference is the patent’s description of a macOS-like user interface that the iPad switches to once it is connected to an external keyboard.
Once an external keyboard connection is detected, the user interface could transform into something that resembles the Apple equivalent of Samsung DeX.
The patent also envisions a new device that combines the essence of a MacBook and an iPad. With the keyboard attached, the device would function like a MacBook with a touchscreen. With the keyboard disconnected, the screen could serve as a standalone iPad-like device usable via the touchscreen interface and Apple Pencil for user input.
Note that Apple dreads the idea of ever making a MacBook with a touchscreen, so perhaps this route could be the perfect next step for Apple’s notebook lineup. In his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also described a similar device that could work in touchscreen mode, in conjunction with an Apple Pencil, or a “Pro” mode where a keyboard and/or external display is hooked up to the device for a computer-like user experience.
Gurman also says significant changes to the multitasking experience are in the pipeline. Users should get additional clarity at Apple’s developer-centric WWDC conference next month. We hope iPadOS 16 gets multitasking features that are closer to macOS.
[Via Patently Apple]
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