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Apple applies for patent on removable touchscreen laptop displays or: How long until we see an iPadBook Air?

Apple applies for patent on removable touchscreen laptop displays or: How long until we see an iPadBook Air?
Basically, there are two different ways that Apple works. Apple will either take a device market that has fallen into the doldrums, and inject it with hype and excitement (see: MP3 players, smartphones, tablets), or Apple will look at how other companies are succeeding and do something similar, but with the extra Apple "magic" (read: marketing). Yesterday, Apple applied for a patent for a removable touchscreen laptop that we don't really expect to become a device, but it does point towards an important question: How long until we see an iPadBook Air?

The patent filing shows a device that would be a laptop, not a mobile device, that has a removable touchscreen display. The display would connect to the laptop base through a 60GHz ultrawideband format (like WiGig perhaps). The display would also use induction charging through the laptop hinge to charge the display for wandering use. 

To be clear, this patent is not for a device that mashes together an iPad and a Macbook. This patent is for a laptop, which has the guts of the computer in the keyboard section. But the touchscreen is detachable and can essentially use a remote connection to use the guts of the computer, which are still in the keyboard. So, this is a patent for technology, rather than an actual useful device, because we can't see any benefits that this configuration would have over something like a Windows 8 hybrid, or Android transformer tablet.

At the very least though, this patent proves that Apple is looking into various ways of evolving its product line.

Apple denies until it can't deny anymore

Checking back on Apple's comments, we'll find that Apple has said repeatedly that it deems touchscreen laptops to be unnecessary, because the "best way to deliver multitouch is through the trackpad." Of course, this is Apple's modus operandi: say that something is unnecessary so as not to impact sales of another device (in this case the iPad), and then do that "unnecessary" thing when Apple's market position demands it

Apple applies for patent on removable touchscreen laptop displays or: How long until we see an iPadBook Air?
For example, Apple continuously denied that it would ever make a smartphone until iPod sales started to plateau, and suddenly the iPhone was born. Apple continuously claimed that it would never make a 7 inch tablet, until the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 started eating away at its tablet dominance and then we saw the iPad mini. Now, the same thing could very well be happening with the convergence of traditional PCs and mobile devices. Apple continues to claim that a touchscreen laptop isn't in the cards, and that the iPad does not need a keyboard accessory. The company also has yet to lay out plans to bring together iOS and MacOS, but that day is coming, isn't it?

Android already has a handful of tablets that have laptop dock accessories. Canonical wants to make Ubuntu the same OS from phones all the way back to traditional PCs. And, Microsoft's entire strategy with Windows 8 is to blur the lines between tablets and laptops. The first generation of Windows 8 devices has shown that plan, but most fall into the first generation pitfall of being jack of all trades but master of none. Some may stake claim to the Microsoft Surface Pro as the best device showing Windows' future, but others point to devices like Lenovo's Yoga convertible. 

Regardless of how the best way forward is for Windows, manufacturers are going to keep pushing until they find it. And, eventually it becomes a question of whether or not Apple's iPad and Macbook combo (starting at ~$1500) can hold enough market share to keep Apple happy in the face of more Android and Windows devices. 

The future iPadBook (or iPad Maxi or iPad Air)

Android is already eating away at Apple's tablet market share, and there are rumors that Android will be making the leap from transforming tablets to full laptops in the near future. Windows can leverage its dominance in the traditional PC market to add to its "mobile" numbers with more and more hybrid convertible or transformer devices. Eventually, Apple is going to give in and mash together iOS and MacOS, and the first device to do it will most likely be a mashup of the iPad and MacBook Air. It's possible that Apple would go with the full convergence and also offer a dock for the iPhone that would turn it into a traditional Mac, much like Canonical's plans for Ubuntu, but more likely it will be a device to directly compete with Microsoft's fleet of hybrid devices.

Apple applies for patent on removable touchscreen laptop displays or: How long until we see an iPadBook Air?
The name of the device is obviously hard to guess. The most likely combination of devices would be to swap out the display of the MacBook Air for an iPad, which by the law of word fusion would then become the iPadBook or iPad Air. And, if you take away the keyboard side of it, you'll be left with an iPad Maxi, because it seems highly unlikely that Apple would use a 9.7 inch display on a laptop. The smallest laptop screen Apple offers is the 11 inch MacBook Air, and an 11 inch iPad would certainly fall under the title of iPad Maxi (if not in official title, then in tech circle shorthand.)

The real bottleneck for Apple right now in implementing this would be in the software side. As far as hardware is concerned, it's relatively easy to swap out the MacBook Air display for a larger iPad. The trouble is that creating at least a bridge between iOS and MacOS is a huge task. Apple has been doing some small surface things to MacOS, like adding the Mac App Store, and adding LaunchPad, which are priming laptop users for life with an iPad, but there's a lot of work to make iOS apps run natively in MacOS or create a new app paradigm (like Windows 8). As far as marketing is concerned, it seems like the best opportunity would be in releasing an 11 inch iPadBook Air along with MacOS 11 which should be coming next year, but that probably isn't enough time for Apple to make it all work. 

Conclusion 

The question here isn't so much if this convergence will happen, but when. It won't be happening any time soon. The addition of the iPad mini to the roster will help Apple to deny the inevitable a little while longer. And, Windows 8 is still a transition OS for Microsoft, meaning the devices are stuck in a weird limbo where manufacturers don't have a concrete idea of how to best design. Eventually, Windows will be fully Metro Modern UI, and the real convergence between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 will become more clear. That may still be another year or two away though, meaning Apple won't be feeling the heat from that side. 

On the other hand, Android looks to continue its march onto any and every device around, and as the Android 10-inch tablet app ecosystem continues to mature, there will be more and more Android devices that start to compete directly with traditional laptops. Android has been moving faster than Windows these days, so we could start seeing Android devices that can be legitimate competitors to the MacBook Air by as soon as next year. And, that will put some more pressure on Apple to do what it has always denied.

source: USPTO via Engadget

69 Comments
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posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:27 40

1. belovedson (Posts: 832; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)


i don't know what to say about apple anymore. i no longer see apple as an american company but more a reflection of a copycat. a thief deserves its reward

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:38 16

3. joey_sfb (Posts: 3282; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


I see apple like the band of forty thieves.

"Open Sesame"!!

Into a pile of treasure worth 140 billions

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:13 6

15. haseebzahid (Posts: 1836; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


but now i realise it IS an American Company for Damn sure

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:45 2

20. funnyguy (banned) (Posts: 244; Member since: 10 Jan 2013)


Copycat of what?

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 13:02 15

23. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8924; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Please tell me this was a joke...

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 13:45 2

27. funnyguy (banned) (Posts: 244; Member since: 10 Jan 2013)


No really...
Copycat of what?
They have put their own mark in the computer history,Machindosh,MacBook Air,Ipad and IPhone, iPod,the first retina display...etc.
For example when they released the iPhone who did they copy?

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 16:07 5

38. -box- (Posts: 3881; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Jobs copied the Xerox Parc when he launched the Macintosh. It wouldn't have ever existed without that thievery

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 16:25 7

41. Daftama (Posts: 575; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Hmmm I dont know they couldn't have copied palm

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 15:34 6

36. RodrigoFreijanes (Posts: 25; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


iPhone brand name.
(Apple pay later for it)

iPad brand name.
(Pay after for it too)

Android notification style.

iPhone design from Sony.

Tablet style from old movies.
(And have courage to patent a square with touchscreen?)

"Icons on screen" (Apple is so pathetic!) when we can see it since olds Nokia, Motorola etc

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 00:22 7

47. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Oh my God, can you guys all just stop? This line of argument is absolutely absurd! Sure, Apple copied what came before. The iPhone was the combination of various smartphones, plus the PDAs of the day like the Dell Axim. That's the way this s**t works.

Everyone builds upon the work that came before. That's called innovation. Apple combined the limited smartphone experience with the limited PDA experience into something new. Facebook took the eons old experience of making and maintaining friends and digitized it. Google has taken the traditional way of organizing information and mixed in intentions, and social collaboration.

Every damn thing in the world is built on something else that came before. That's not called copying or stealing. It's called Life. You are built on the lessons your parents learned and taught. Products are built on the ideas and products that came before.

Stop all the damn hate. You're arguing over nothing at all.

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 03:34

49. Timmehor (Posts: 599; Member since: 09 Mar 2013)


Thank you, someone who doesn't blatantly hate Apple. Sick of these people not giving a second thought, just HATE, and more HATE. People forget Apple pushed forward some of the biggest technology revolutions in the world.

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 13:12

54. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4111; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


*Insert applause here*

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 13:49 1

56. willard12 (Posts: 890; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)


Does everyone sue over things they copied...like slide
to unlock? Does every company publicly degrade another company's innovation and then patent similar technology later? I thought combining a tablet and a laptop was like combining a refrigerator and an oven, according to Apple. "One device that does neither well.". Now, there is a patent for something similar. Does everyone do this?

posted on 07 Apr 2013, 02:20

65. belovedson (Posts: 832; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)


are you the real michael. if you are it would be wise to have a neutral stance in the matter.

in the meantime this is a big deal. despite being correct in some things. when a company begins patenting the ideas of other that were once free to be used. the patent complicates and eventually stops the innovation from evolving.

so again its not a small thing. apple patenting the ideas that were shared by industry is wrong

posted on 07 Apr 2013, 11:10

67. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


So Apple is taking advantage of a broken patent system. Plenty of companies do, because that's the way the broken system works.

If all the haters took one day off of bitching about Apple, and spent that day contacting their government reps, and spreading the word that the patent system is broken, Congress would fall over themselves to do something (just like they did with SOPA).

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 16:08 1

39. Doakie (Posts: 1330; Member since: 06 May 2009)


Next thing you know they'll copyright the name Apple iPad Transformer or the iPad Transformer Prime Infinity. Those names sound original.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:57

21. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5956; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


I would look at this patent application as Apple trying (they haven't got a patent just yet) to stake out a position in the tablet-as-PC (aka MS Surface Pro) space. MS has the Surface, ASUS has the Transformer, and Apple has this. The benefit of the Apple approach is that the heavy lifting is done by the keyboard part, with the display part having a battery and wireless transceiver. Weight should be at least half that of a similar-sized Surface.

Apple is keeping its options open in case MS gets traction with the Surface Pro.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 13:03 5

24. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8924; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Price would be double of any WP8 tablet/computer.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 14:35

29. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5956; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Depends on how it is deployed. If there was a multi-host version (Citrix WinFrame analog), the cost per screen could be cut pretty low, since only one base station is supporting multiple screens.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 22:56

46. Luisit0 (Posts: 73; Member since: 18 Feb 2013)


+1000

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:31 14

2. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)


"YOU CAN CONVERGE A FRIDGE AND TOASTER, BUT IT WONT MAKE SENSE"- Tim Cook.
And now they are going for it. LMAO

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:39 12

4. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)


I know there are already companies that have touchscreen laptops with detachable screens. HP comes to mind if I remember the commercial correctly. Here we go with another Apple patent on something someone else has actually brought to market already......smh

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 16:12 4

40. Doakie (Posts: 1330; Member since: 06 May 2009)


I'm pretty sure that Asus did it first with the Transformer... At least give credit where credit is due.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 18:46

44. androiddownsouth (Posts: 598; Member since: 02 May 2012)


Doakie, I wasn't trying to deprive anyone of any credit dude. The HP commerical was just the one that came to mind at the time that I typed my comment. Sheesh........

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:43 13

5. dorianb (Posts: 429; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Wait I swore Asus had been doing this for AWHILE with the Eee Pad, Transformer Pad, & VivoTab RT.

What's the difference?

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:47 9

6. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)


While Asus doing this for a while their devices weren't a hit. But when this Cupertino based company releases something, those !sheeps will buy anything with a fruit logo on it.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:48 16

7. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


The difference is that this patent isn't for a tablet that detaches from a keyboard. The patent is for a laptop where the guts are still in the keyboard, but the screen is detachable and can essentially use the computer remotely over a wireless connection.

Basically, this patent is for a device that would be silly to build.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:21 5

17. dorianb (Posts: 429; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


Thanks for the clarification

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 17:32

43. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


I wonder who thumbed you're positive comment©

Yet again really nice article Micheal H™

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 20:16 2

45. faisolbauuz (Posts: 121; Member since: 05 Jan 2013)


What about asus Aio it can dualboot both android and windows while attached or asus taichi ?

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 11:17 2

52. MartyK (Posts: 726; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


Michael,

Its the same thing, "a screen remove from a keyboard, is the same as, a keyboard is remove from the screen, or Screen and keyboard can seperate from each other, or holy crap they came apart (screen and keyboard)...don't fall for apple tricks..same thing

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 23:02

64. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


No, the difference is that one is just a screen, and one is a tablet. the screen can't get too far from the base before it's useless. the tablet is a self-contained device.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:48 12

8. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)


Great Artists STEAL ... that's the difference :)

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:58

10. quesoesgrande (Posts: 217; Member since: 03 Aug 2011)


The difference is that those devices (I own first one listed) are Android tablets (mobile OS devices) with optional keyboard/trackpad docks. Apple would be creating desktop OS devices with touch screens that undock from a keyboard.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 11:51 12

9. bojan (Posts: 188; Member since: 06 Oct 2012)


apple copies everything. keep the stealing up bit--s

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:02

11. grahaman27 (Posts: 349; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


patents mean nothing.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:08 7

13. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


It means that Apple is thinking about how to combat the hybrid competition that's coming.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 15:16 3

33. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 927; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Or is Apple trying to sue other brands as always?

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 18:06

62. cheetah2k (Posts: 871; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


@MH, hybrid competition is already here, just take the Asus Transformer and Surface.. Apple are 2 years behind the competition and yet trying to (once again) patent something that's already been done!!!!

What a fraking joke!

posted on 07 Apr 2013, 11:11

68. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


You're right that Apple is behind the competition (although still ahead in the market), but this is not a patent for something that's already been done. This is a patent for something that no one would really build.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:05 6

12. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


We need the original Apple, not a copycat Apple!

(SIGH) I miss the old days, Apple designed in California............

Now, Apple copycat in California............

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:10

14. funnyguy (banned) (Posts: 244; Member since: 10 Jan 2013)


They said they will be more and more android devices that will compete directly with the traditional laptops...
Buy saying more and more i assume that there must already be a couple of android tablets out there competing with traditional laptops..
The problem is that I don't see them around. The only android tablets that are selling is the nexus 7 and the kindle fire,how in the hell they are competing with net books and laptops?
And since when android will transform tablets to full laptops?
Android and ios are not in the same league with windows,Ubuntu and mac os.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:17 1

16. daniel_bargs (Posts: 325; Member since: 27 Nov 2010)


What a Pulitzer-winning article, again, from Michael H. I want to cry rejoice having read such an article lol.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:35 4

18. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6743; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Ok enough is enough

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 12:37

19. roscuthiii (Posts: 1873; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Hmm... I wonder...

So maybe this isn't quite as practical (necessary, desired?) from the home/consumer standpoint, but in business/enterprise markets? Yeah, I can easily see a viable product.

My place of business is trying one of those newfangled modern approaches to the workplace. Took down all the cubicles w/ no assigned placement. Just open work areas where teams gather wherever they feel like, and some BYOD being integrated as well which is kinda nice.
The iPadBook Air could flourish in this kind modern office space setting. Or, basically for anybody that requires a fully complete OS, but also relative mobility around a centralized location.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 13:00

22. decent4u (Posts: 74; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)


PadBook Pro OR PadBook Air :)

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 18:04

61. cheetah2k (Posts: 871; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


iPad Transformer? :p

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 13:06 5

25. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8924; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Apple has become a joke company to me. Some of the things they do makes me question how the hell they're getting away with it all. This is just plain sad.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 14:57

31. funnyguy (banned) (Posts: 244; Member since: 10 Jan 2013)


Dude like what?
What are those things that make you wonder how are they getting away?
Be a little more specific....

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 18:03

60. cheetah2k (Posts: 871; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


Like this patent - looks like they're just copying the Asus Transformer! duh!

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 13:40 3

26. bojan (Posts: 188; Member since: 06 Oct 2012)


iphone 5 are worthless on ebay now they all sell for under $550

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 15:14 1

32. pept68 (Posts: 21; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


Requesting a patent on something that was out 3 years ago and pretending it new is just so sad!!! Lenovo IdeaPad U1 was out at CES Jan 2010 when docked the tablet runs windows7 when out of the dock it runs a custom built Linux OS. Others do the same but run android when not docked. AMD turbo dock boosts the processor in the tablet by %40 when docked. Windows atom based tablets are getting a boost from the i5 processor and additional hard drive in the keyboard dock... But some how apples idea is new?? They lost the slide to unlock and this one should never be granted.

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 15:34

35. keithrandy (Posts: 21; Member since: 05 Feb 2010)


I think they would call it the Padbook or Padbook Air. So are MacBooks in their death beds?

posted on 05 Apr 2013, 15:37

37. RodrigoFreijanes (Posts: 25; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


I do hate Apple.

How could I have i devices on past?

Today I like Apple only for force Samsung and others to be so better and cheaper. rs

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 03:31

48. Timmehor (Posts: 599; Member since: 09 Mar 2013)


No, (well not in the next 2 years) by Apple making an iPad/Mac hybrid (Like the Surface) that will mean less sales for Macs and iPads individually. Apple like to make money, not toss around with it.

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 07:22

50. dragonscourgex (Posts: 307; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


"iPad Maxi" with wings. For those more personal moments. Well, I don't see this as something granted a patent. Also, I would find this a weaker way of doing the "hybrid" device. Were, currently we have tablets that docks into "keyboards" that turn into laptops. This method lets you remove the tablets and take it with you. Mobility is becoming everything now of days. Apple solution seem to limit you to a range since all of the hardware will be in the dock.

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 11:10 1

51. MartyK (Posts: 726; Member since: 11 Apr 2012)


"Removable touchscreen laptop displays".....ITS CALL ASUS TRANSFOMER!!...smh

posted on 07 Apr 2013, 11:12

69. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


No, it's not. Try again.

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 12:37

53. JunkCreek (Posts: 406; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


TeamViewer already had this feature. Remote your pc/laptop anywhere via phone "detachable screen" (android/ioa/wp) as long as your pc/laptop connetcs to the wireless network/internet. so you can always "have" and can always access your computer anywhere. but still it is more suitable for presenting your presentation slides, editing documents via conference in other city/country but for printing, still you need to send the files via the wireless network. and TeamViewer alredy make it done!

posted on 06 Apr 2013, 18:02

59. cheetah2k (Posts: 871; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


So essentially Apple are trying to patent the Asus Transformer?? Screw you Apple!

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