Future Mac laptops could sport an iPhone-docking trackpad

Future Mac laptops could sport a trackpad that could pair with an iPhone and provide extra power — or vice versa. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190018450) for an “electronic accessory device” that could “extend and expand usefulness of a portable computing device.”

According to the patent filing, the base portion of the laptop can include a port having a size and shape that can accommodate insertion and retention of an iPhone (or perhaps even an iPad mini). The port can also include a means for communication between the laptop and iOS device.

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This means for communication can include ports and connectors for wired communication and/or suitable means for wireless communication. The wireless communication protocol can include WiFi, Bluetooth (BT), wireless telephony (LTE, GSM, etc.) or any appropriate radio access technology (RAT). Communication between the iOS device and the laptop can include data transfer and power transfer. In one embodiment, the laptop accessory device can include a power supply such as a battery that can be used to power the Mac and/or be used to charge up a battery carried by and used to power the host device. 

In another embodiment, the iOS device can receive external power that can be used to both operate it and the laptop to preserve battery resources. In still another embodiment, the accessory device can be powered by the host device. 

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.