Apple patent shows iPhone docking into a MacBook shell

Apple patent shows iPhone docking into a MacBook shell
Apple has made it very clear that the MacOS and iOS software will not be converging, but apparently that doesn't necessarily mean that Apple can't at least dream about ways to make the hardware mingle a little more. As you should know by now, Apple has a habit of patenting all the things regardless of if those things will ever see the light of day, and we're kind of assuming at least one of these options will be left in the bin.

Not to be outdone by previous versions of the same idea, Apple has received patents for two hybrid designs that we've seen in various forms from the Motoroa Atrix to the Asus PadFone X and even the Microsoft Surfacebook. In one patent, Apple has an iPhone docking into a laptop shell, where the phone would then power the laptop experience (at least in part) and also be used as the trackpad of the device (that part at least is a new idea). Considering the trackpad on the new MacBook Pros are similar in size to an iPhone Plus, it's easy to see this idea has been bouncing around Apple. In the other form, an iPad would dock into the shell to become a touchscreen for the clamshell. 

In Apple's version, the laptop shell would not be able to be used independently, but would include a GPU, which would presumably make it easier to power a desktop-like experience (although Apple has claimed the since the introduction of the A9 and A9x chips that it had "desktop-class" processors, so something seems off here.) As you might expect, the laptop shell is described as being all aluminum and thin, similar to a MacBook. 

No word on what the software on-screen would look like, but we have to assume it would be an iPad-like experience of iOS. 

What do you guys think? Would you want one of these?

source: USPTO via AppleInsider



1. kiko007

Posts: 7520; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Way too clunky....

9. Highside

Posts: 197; Member since: Jan 31, 2017

This is way obvious. I'm actually shocked Apple didn't exploit their stupid sheep customers with this a long time ago.

2. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

are apple and samsung prepping for surface phone with continuum? I guess samsung filed this some yrs back

12. AlikMalix unregistered

Um.. ios already been doing continuity and handoff functionality "some years back"...

3. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

iContinuum? Wonder if it'll be another half-assed attempt like the toyPad XL or the real deal with full Mac OS just a dock away.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

smartphone dock for laptop? I think I've seen this patent before :-/ (and iPad docking is just stupid, just make it hybrid 2in1, detachable keyboard or somehing, lol...)


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Yes ASUS was the firts a few years ago! Apple is just coying like always!

15. Saioofi

Posts: 347; Member since: May 23, 2014

So Microsoft and Samsung didn't copy? smh


Posts: 2817; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

No because this is a phone docked in a laptop or tablet like Asus did years before. Continuum of Microsoft is totally different!

5. SleeperOne

Posts: 370; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

That is an awkward setup, just give people a generic dock and find a display somewhere smh...

6. azimesmail

Posts: 264; Member since: Nov 23, 2014

Not that awkward. You'd use the phone screen as a trackpad. I think it's kind of clever. Makes building the thing cheaper.

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and what if you forgot to bring your iPhone or you want to use iPhone (for make a call, take photos, or something else)? that will mean your macbook wont have any trackpad :v

19. azimesmail

Posts: 264; Member since: Nov 23, 2014

All it's saying is it's a macbook shell, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's a full on macbook. It's most likely just a screen dock that looks like a macbook. To convert your iPhone into more of a ipad with a keyboard type set up.

7. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014 in hell can they patent stuff that already has been made a thousand times....

8. keithtae

Posts: 564; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

Didnt samsung had this patent before?

10. Ray.S

Posts: 462; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

iPhone docking into notebook-style shell is a wonderful idea. It means Apple will have to implement pointing device support in iOS, though, so you can use the touchscreen as a touchpad.

14. Macready

Posts: 1830; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Well we all know those docking stations have been done before, but what about the touchpad part? Filed a year earlier by Samsung we see something strikingly similar :

16. Tabby_Tiger

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 23, 2017

Depends on the OS that runs when docked. I assume the dock will contain separate memory for a lite version Mac OS.

18. krystian

Posts: 423; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

"and also be used as the trackpad of the device (that part at least is a new idea)." my 950XL can be used as a trackpad for any device in continuum mode. How is that a new idea? Because it is stuck in a fixed position? Ok well HP elite X3 dock puts it in a fixed position. The lapdock also offers an extra touchpad.

20. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3166; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Shh!! Don't let the iSheep know that.

21. HockeyDood

Posts: 80; Member since: May 14, 2010

Good job Apple. Pioneering by copying an idea another company (Ubuntu) had before. You aren't an innovative company anymore. Please just accept that and slowly fade into obscurity.

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