Apple patent for modularized computing hints at a Mac/iPad hybrid

FIG. 1A shows a perspective view of components of a modularized computing device.

Apple has repeatedly denied any plans to merge the Mac and iPad into one device. However, a newly granted patent (number US 11709527 B2) for “modularizing computing and input device” shows the company is at least investigating such a device.

About the patent

The patent involves modularized computing devices having removably attached components. In it Apple notes that recent advances in computing devices have provided for the miniaturization or reduction in size of the components, such as computing components, used to power and drive the devices, such as processors, batteries, memory, and integrated circuits. 

FIG. 1B shows a perspective view of a modularized computing device. FIG. 1C shows a perspective view of the computing device of FIG. 1B arranged in another configuration.

As a result, computing devices having different form-factors have been adopted to provide efficient platforms for a particular use or in a particular environment. For example, laptop and tablet computing devices are commonly used when mobility is desired, such as, reading news articles on a bus or a park bench. Alternatively, desktop computing devices are commonly desired when a user wants a larger display and/or a full-size keyboard. 

Apple says that while computing devices have traditionally been constructed to fit the needs of a single particular use (e.g., sketching, virtual and artificial reality applications, reading social media, etc.), reconfigurable computing devices “can be desirable to provide a higher quality user experience within a broad spectrum of uses and environments.”

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A computing device can be reconfigurable to include one or more electrical devices in various configurations. The computing device can include a base forming an input surface configured to receive user input. The base can receive one or more input devices, such as, displays or keyboards. The base can include a hinge rotatably attached to the base and configured to removably retain an electronic device, such as, a display. The computing device can include a coupling mechanism having a first retaining portion and a second retaining portion rotatably coupled to an intermediate portion. The first and second retaining portions can be configured to removably retain electrical devices to the coupling mechanism.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.