May 14, 2022

Apple patent for keyboard accessory tips on an iPad/Mac hybrid device

Image: Apple patent

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted Apple a new patent for a next-generation keyboard accessory for the iPad that appears to support multiple installation modes (via Apple obviously).

Some of the figures included in the patent are particularly interesting because they show a macOS or macOS-like user interface on the connected iPad, possibly hinting at a hybrid iPad/Mac device.

Image: Apple patent

The accessory includes a keyboard, a trackpad and a pairing mechanism to connect an iPad. According to the figures included, the keyboard accessory and attached iPad will together complete a clamshell chassis, supporting the full range of motion of an average laptop.

With the keyboard accessory attached, you’ll essentially get a MacBook with an iPad for a screen, especially given the macOS-like user interface. It could finally give customers what Apple has adamantly refused to do for years: put a touchscreen on a Mac.

The magnetic element of the now-patented keyboard accessory coupling mechanism could move between two positions to facilitate different mounting modes, based on the illustrations.

The hinge connecting the iPad to the accessory could also have a built-in display, or instead feature magnetic storage for an Apple Pencil. The rear of the hinge could sport a connection interface that would allow users to attach accessories such as a camera, projector, microphone or light.

Last week, Apple won a few new patents for its popular mixed reality headset. Other recent patent filings also point to Apple working on an advanced AirTag that can monitor health, as well as a Mac that fits inside a keyboard.