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iPhones, iPads, other gadgets may one day be able to dock to Mac laptops

iPhones and iPads may one day be able to dock to Mac laptops, as evidenced by a newly granted Apple patent (number 10,545,542) for an “electronic accessory device.”

In the patent filing, Apple says the appearance of a portable computing device (the Mac laptop), including its design and its heft, is important to a user, as the outward appearance contributes to the overall impression that the user has of the portable computing device. However, due to restrictive amount of available space, the laptop can require additional resources to provide extended functionality. 

Apple’s idea is for the Mac laptop to provide the computing oomph, while a docked iPhone or iPad could offer “additional functionality, such as a large display, enhanced audio capabilities, and further input means. These can include, for example, a mouse, track pad, keyboard, and the like.”

Interestingly, one drawing (below) that accompanies the patent seems to show an iPad attached to a Mac laptop screen. Could such a set-up offer atouchscreen features for a Mac without the laptop itself having a built-in touchscreen?

OR, per the patent, the dockable device would be something besides an iPhone or iPad. It could be is a device that doesn’t stand-alone, but only works with the Mac laptop

Here’s the summary of the invention: “The present application describes various embodiments of systems and methods for providing internal components for portable computing devices having a thin profile. More particularly, the present application describes an electronic accessory device available to extend and expand usefulness of a portable computing device.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.