Apple has filed for a patent (number 20220035417) for a “hinged keyboard accessory having multiple installation modes for a tablet computer device.” It involves, of course, the iPad.
About the patent filing
In the patent filing, Apple notes that tablet computing devices are becoming ever more powerful and useful in a wide range of activities. In some situations, it is desirable to use a keyboard or other auxiliary input device in addition to build-in input devices of a tablet computing device. However, Apple says that many traditional auxiliary input devices are difficult to use and undermine the advantages provided by an iPad.
Currently, of course, you can attach a keyboard to the tablet and use it like a traditional laptop. Apple’s idea is that you could place the iPad on a keyboard with the screen facing in the opposite direction. This would make it easier to sketch and draw with an Apple Pencil without the keyboard getting in the way.
The hinged keyboard accessory would have a recess for magnetically attaching an Apple Pencil. It’s also possible that the keyboard could be rotated while attached to an iPad. Or it may simple be that a user would unattached the tablet, turn it around, and reattach it for drawing, sketches, and other activities.
Summary of the patent filing
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing with all the technical details: “An accessory device for a tablet computing device may include a base portion having one or more input devices (e.g., keyboards, trackpads, touchscreen displays, and the like) for providing inputs to the tablet computing device.
“ The accessory device may include a coupling mechanism for releasably coupling the base portion of the accessory device to a tablet computing device in multiple different installation modes. The coupling mechanism may include an auxiliary display for providing a graphical output along a surface of the coupling mechanism. Additionally or alternatively, the coupling mechanism may include a recess for receiving a stylus.”