Apple finally exploring ways to make iPad a solid laptop alternative

Apple finally exploring ways to make iPad a solid laptop alternative
Although some of Apple's iPads are now as powerful as MacBooks, many believe they are being held back by the operating system but a new patent filing suggests the Cupertino giant is working on an accessory to get more out of its tablets.

Patently Apple reports that Apple has been granted a patent for a hinged iPad keyboard accessory that will enable new installation modes for providing greater flexibility and a macOS-like user interface.

Per Apple's latest financial results, iPad sales decreased 2.2 percent year over year during the second quarter, and while this can largely be attributed to supply constraints, some of the blame should be directed to the software experience.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman had recently suggested that the company should introduce a new pro mode to make the iPad more appealing to power users. He said that this mode should be activated when a device is connected to an accessory like a keyboard or an external monitor. The idea is that the iPad should be able to provide Mac-like multitasking, a more dynamic dock, and a proper desktop.

Today's report indicates Apple is thinking along the same lines. According to the patent description, the accessory could include a base portion with a keyboard with electromechanical keys and a coupling mechanism for attaching to a tablet. The hinge may magnetically support an Apple Pencil and could also feature a connection interface for supporting other accessories like a camera or a microphone. Accompanying images clearly show a macOS-like interface.

This implies that Apple might be considering a hybrid iPad/MacBook device, which is in line with a couple of reports that say the company is exploring a new dual-use product category. Whether the company will actually go through the idea remains to be seen.

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