Future Mac laptops may be more repairable, upgradeable

FIG. 1 illustrates an isometric view of a Mac laptop with a latch mechanism.

As hard as it is to believe, future Mac laptops may have a latch mechanism that makes them more repairable and upgradeable. Apple has filed for a patent (US 20230266800 A1) for “electronic devices with rotary magnetic latches.” 

About the patent filing

The patent filing involves magnetic latches used to secure together components of a laptop. Apple says that electronic devices with multiple housing components often use fasteners (e.g., screws) to secure together the housing components. While fasteners are generally reliable, they can lead to some issues. For example, fasteners require one or more openings in at least one of the housing components, which leaves an electronic device susceptible to ingress of liquids or other contaminants.

Apple says that some solutions provide an alternative to fasteners and further reduce the need for openings. For example, spring clips can be coupled to one of the housing components and fastened to the other housing component, thereby securing together the housing components. However, spring clips require a specific tool/machine to attach the spring clip to the extension. 

What’s more, the de-coupling between the spring clip and the extension can be difficult, leading to rework challenges, according to Apple. Also, as housing components become thinner, the force applied by the tool used with the spring clip can cause the housing component to deflect, or deviate, from the original shape. Apple’s solution is a latch system that secures together housing components of a laptop.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent filing: “A latch and a magnet (coupled with the latch) are secured with a housing component by, for example, a post that extends from the housing component. The latch and the magnet can move (i.e., rotate) with respect to the housing component. 

“As an example, prior to a tool applying an external magnetic field external to the electronic device, the latch is coupled to a first housing component and is engaged with a second housing component, thereby mechanically interlocking the first and second housing components. However, when the tool applies a rotational magnetic field to the magnet (that is coupled with the latch), the magnet and the latch rotate, thereby causing the latch to disengage from the second housing component. This allows the first and second housing components to decouple from each other.”

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.