Apple patent envisions a MacBook powered by your iPhone or iPad

Apple has filed a patent for a MacBook housing that is powered by a docked iPhone or iPad. The patent entitled, 'ELECTRONIC ACCESSORY DEVICE' was filed September 20, 2016. It details a laptop style housing having a recess in which you can place your iPhone or iPad. In one embodiment, the housing could have limited or no data processing resources but have output resources such as a screen and input resources such as a keyboard. It could also have memory resources. Once docked the two devices would operate as a single computational entity with the iPhone carrying out substantially all intensive computational processing.

Here’s an excerpt from the patent abstract:
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.
The handset would double as a trackpad, complete with Force Touch input (via 3D Touch) and haptic feedback (via iPhone’s Taptic Engine). As noted by AppleInsider, the surface area of the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus is “very similar” to that of the enlarged trackpad on Apple’s new MacBook Pro models.

An iPad version of the dock would come without a built-in screen because your docked tablet would become the display with multi-touch input. The patent application does not define whether the dock would run iOS, macOS or a hybrid operating system that could support both touch interactions and pixel precision provided by a trackpad.

, for instance, were one of the first devices to ship with its Webtop platform, allowing them to be placed into the company’s HD Multimedia Dock or Laptop Dock accessories to access an Ubuntu-based desktop.

Should Apple turn this idea into a real product?

Source: USPTO via AppleInsider


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