Forward-looking: Apple has patented a brand new fashion of keyboard for the iPad that works at the side of macOS-style software program to show it right into a laptop computer. It has a extra pure look than the kickstand utilized by most present iPad keyboards, and considerably deeper software program integration as effectively.
If that sounds acquainted, then you definately’re most likely pondering of Microsoft Surface gadgets. Microsoft markets the Surface Pro as a extra succesful model of the iPad Pro of their awkward however humorous advertisements. iPad proponents say that Apple’s machine is healthier at what it does, even when it is barely much less versatile.
A brand new iPad based mostly on this patent would reverse that paradigm. It would have a genuinely clamshell type issue. Apple’s present Magic Keyboard is extra of a folding case and keyboard hybrid than a pure keyboard attachment.
This keyboard attachment is drawn connecting to the bottom of the iPad, very like the Surface Pro’s keyboard. It has “electromechanical” keys and the massive trackpad that MacBooks are well-known for. It might additionally, Apple’s patent says, have a slot for a stylus or a small touchscreen show much like a Touch Bar.
As it stands, you may already get iPad keyboards with these options sans the Touch Bar from third-party producers like Logitech. Combined with iPad OS, the iPad is already a succesful substitute for a laptop computer. This patent appears extra like Apple’s spin on an present thought than a redesign of the iPad, nevertheless it may also be a stepping stone to different upgrades.
Apple’s patent emphasizes the MacOS-like interface paired with the keyboard, despite the fact that that software program is probably going outdoors the scope of this patent. Apple hasn’t dedicated to going on this route, however they have been heading in direction of a extra conventional desktop since iPadOS, which launched two years in the past and can quickly enter its fourth iteration.
Meanwhile, different Apple patents present the iPad entering into bolder instructions. A flexible connection port designed for a keyboard accent may be used for different first-party or third-party equipment, like cameras or microphones, and even, as one patent describes, a secondary display screen.
It’s cool to see Apple experimenting with new concepts for the iPad, however this would not be the primary time that Apple has patented one thing superior and thrilling solely to get caught on the drafting board. So this product may not come to exist, however it might be cool if it did.
Masthead credit score: Maury Page