Whether you like Microsoft’s new direction with Windows 8 or not, it is clear that it has since inspired several new changes in laptop designs. Particularly, it has brought forth an age of interesting hybrids and convertibles. Now it looks like Apple might be following suite, as a new patent describes a convertible MacBook design with a touch-sensitive screen.
As always, Apple’s patents tend to take familiar ideas and make them, well, Apple-y. In the case of the notebook convertible, Apple’s version isn’t about creating a standalone tablet that simply hooks into a laptop base.
Instead, Apple’s patent describes a touchscreen that detaches but communicates to the base using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless methods, since the laptop’s base would still hold the guts: the CPU, GPU, storage, etc.
In other words, the screen would be more like a Wii U remote, where you can do touch-interactive things, but only as long as you are within range of the Wii U console. This method isn’t about replacing the iPad. Instead, it is about creating a way to interact with touch-programs like games and even drawing programs without having to deal with the clumsy way you would interact if it was still attached to the base.
It is an interesting idea, but I’m not sure if it is a good one. Microsoft Windows convertibles are basically tablets that can work like a notebook, the Apple patent is for a notebook that can work like a tablet – this could be a limiting form factor. It also means that it is pretty much guaranteed to run OSX, not iOS, which would mean that Apple would have to work hard to add decent touch-capable apps to the Mac App Store, or find a way to port or directly run iOS apps.
What do you think of Apple’s convertible concept, like it or not?
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