When Microsoft first announced that it would be launching its own tablet, many speculated that the company was planning on a tablet/laptop hybrid. In Apple’s second quarter earnings call in April of 2012, CEO Tim Cook said a hybrid is a bad idea. When asked about a Windows 8 tablet/laptop hybrid, Cook said, “You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.” He was basically saying that the merging of two devices does not necessarily produce a third device that is better than its two parts.
Patently Apple has just discovered an interesting patent that proves the company is thinking the exact opposite of Cook’s sentiments a year ago.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent submission from Apple that includes design details for a computing device with a display that features a retractable magnetic mechanism to detach itself from a MacBook’s main body.
According to Patently Apple, the details include information that the removable display may be able to rotate and pivot from an open position to a closed position. When disconnected from the base, the display may be positioned in any manner the user chooses for viewing.
The patent states that the computer device can be “both a single operably connected device and two separate communicating devices.”
To be sure, Apple is not simply submitting an application for a laptop with a removable display. The patent includes information that the display can be a touch screen or allow for an input mechanism, such as a capacitive touch sensor, to allow the screen to function as an input device for the base.
Honestly, I think this is a great idea. I’ve been using an iPad for more than three years now and am very familiar with touch screen computing. I recently purchased a MacBook Pro and constantly find myself trying to touch the screen for certain things. It only seems natural to me to integrate a laptop with a tablet. I look forward to this “toaster/fridge.”