The smartphone takes the place of the trackpad and is used as such, while it provides internal components such as processor and memory. Alternatively, an iPad could function as a display. The supplementary device only expands and can not be used independently.
A newly published patent application Apples provides a complementary device that, like a dock, takes a smartphone or a tablet and at the same time expands it to a notebook – by providing what is still missing. As illustrations show, for example, iPhone or iPad like components are to be included and their functionality to a MacBook with touch control extend. The accessory in the outer form of a notebook would not be used independently, but should serve only the extension of iPhone or iPad.
In a contemplated variation of US Patent No. 20170083048 , an iPhone could take the place of the trackpad in the notebook. Afterwards, it could be used not only as a trackpad but also as a processor, memory, graphics chip and mass storage for the entire device.
In this case, the display and rechargeable battery in the auxiliary unit would be installed as a further prerequisite for a type of hybrid notebook. The patent description, however, introduces another version where a tablet acts as a display while the laptop / dock combination provides a trackpad. In this case it would be the iPad, whose internal components characterize the entire experience. With more memory and an additional GPU, the add-on could optionally provide a larger overall performance.
In general, it is about “different versions of systems and methods to provide internal components for portable computing devices with a flat design”. As usual, the patent claims filed by Apple are formulated as broadly as possible and should go beyond the specific examples mentioned. “The attachment can take many forms,” it says. The illustrations are also intended to be illustrative only, and the patent is not intended to be limited to such constructions.
The patent application was filed on 21 September 2015 and published on 23 March 2017. As with many other patent applications from Apple, however, remains unclear as to whether the technology described therein will ever find the way into a finished product.