MacBook Tablet patent hints at convertible touch Macs

Dec 1, 2010 - 5 Comments

macbook tablet patent

Earlier in the year a patent for a MacBook Touch of sorts appeared, basically it was a MacBook with a touch screen, but that idea was later shot down by Steve Jobs in the Mac OS X 10.7 Lion preview keynote speech who said that touching a laptop screen was ergonomically awkward. Now another patent has surfaced that seems to alleviate that problem, and this time it features a MacBook that converts to a tablet by sliding the screen forward over the keyboard.

According to Patently Apple, a variation of the MacBook Tablet patent first appeared in 2008 but the convertible concept has reappeared in new patents for iOS keyboard detection and a new scrolling API. Patently Apple also points out that the idea of a laptop with a sliding screen has already been adopted by Dell in the Inspiron Duo (shown below next to an iPad):

ipad and dell duo tablet

Are we going to see a sliding screen MacBook Tablet in Apple’s product future? Apple is clearly exploring the idea, but I think the obstacle is how to make the MacBook acceptably thin and light enough for a sliding touch screen to incorporate into the hardware and not feel cumbersome. Certainly the recently released MacBook Air is a step in this direction, but outside of the 11″ model I think there is still some weight to lose before it’s a plausible solution on other models.

If this convertible MacBook to Tablet concept is built, it will likely feature Mac OS X as the default operating system in standard keyboard mode, and then switch to iOS when converted to a tablet, which is an idea that Apple is exploring as evidenced in the patent that shows an iMac Touch running Mac OS X with iOS as a touch layer on top.

You can check out the MacBook Tablet patent and thoughts on the concept at the incredibly resourceful Patently Apple. It’s a fun site to look around for a glimpse into Apple’s creativity, even if many of the ideas never come to fruition.


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Posted by: William Pearson in Rumor


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  1. icebreaker says:

    Lol, this reminds me of the Acer C200 which is really old ;)

  2. […] is on a bit of a roll lately, earlier in the week they uncovered a patent for a Macbook Tablet that features a sliding screen that transforms a standard laptop into an iPad like […]

  3. Matthew says:

    This is not so far fetched, cell phones do this all the time on a much smaller scale outside of the Apple world. Many Androids and Blackberrys have the fold/flip keyboards with a touch screen, so why not include it in a laptop?

  4. Vampirao says:

    Looks like the Shift from HTC.

  5. Pollock says:

    I would buy one, but I wonder how the rails on the sides would be sharp or if they would be flush and conduct power through some other method, or else where would the power cable go to accomodate the LCD?

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