Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11599322 B1) for systems with overlapped displays. The goal is to allow various Apple devices such as Macs, iPads, and iPhones to be positioned so that the displays of the devices overlap.
About the patent
According to the patent, when positioned so that a pair of devices overlap or are adjacent to one another, the devices may operate in a linked mode. During linked operations, devices may communicate wirelessly while input gathering and content displaying operations are shared among the devices.
For example, a user may seamlessly move a pointer that is present on the display of a first device to the display of a second device. Using the pointer or other user input, content may be moved between devices (e.g., a file on one display may be dragged and dropped onto another display, thereby sharing the file between devices).
What’s more, one or more devices in the system may have sensors. Sensor data such as motion and orientation data may be used in determining when devices should be linked. To determine which portion of a display in a first device is overlapped by a display in a second device, the system may adjust visual output on the display of the first device while gathering corresponding camera input or other optical measurements with the second device.
The goal is to allow a user to move content between devices and perform other operations involving the use of the linked devices. The patent seems to build on Apple’s Handoff and Continuity features.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A system may include electronic devices that communicate wirelessly. When positioned so that a pair of devices overlap or are near to one another, the devices may operate in a linked mode. During linked operations, devices may communicate wirelessly while input gathering and content displaying operations are shared among the devices.
“One or both of a pair of devices may have sensors. An orientation sensor, motion sensor, optical sensor, and/or other sensors may be used in identifying conditions in which to enter the linked mode and to identify a region where displays in the pair of devices overlap.”