Apple wins a patent to essentially create a Surface Book

Surface Pro 4 and iPad ProSource: Windows Center

What you need to know

  • Apple recently obtained a patent for an iPad accessory with a hinged keyboard.
  • The project, although semi-unique, results in a hybrid tablet-laptop computer.
  • Despite criticizing hybrid computing devices in 2012, Apple seems ready to continue emulating 2-in-1 computers such as Surface Pro and Surface Book

The current tech media joke is something that doesn’t exist until Apple comes up with it (after everyone else has been doing it for years).

Whether it’s digital pens, NFC, facial recognition, or hybrid computing devices, Apple sits on the sidelines until it thinks it can do it all better. (My favorite Apple excuse was in 2012, when Apple’s senior vice president, Phil Schiller, said Qi wireless charging was “more complicated” because it still needs to be plugged in.)

But to be fair, Apple often masters the execution of a particular technology which, when combined with its software, gives a satisfying experience.

Hinged device, Apple patent 2022

Source: Apple Patent

Now, with a new patent granted to Apple, the company seems ready to continue its march towards a Surface Pro-like device (or even Surface Book). According to Patently Apple, who revealed the story, the design focuses on the hinge “providing multiple installation modes that can provide exceptional flexibility for users.”

Despite the clever design, Microsoft retired Surface Book in 2021 in favor of the perfect Surface Laptop Studio.

According to an Apple patent, a hinge allows an iPad-like device to connect to a keyboard accessory by sliding into a magnetic element that holds the device in place (along with some physical support). The iPad can also be flipped with the display backwards so that when the device is folded, the entire device will act like a thicker tablet, possibly increasing battery life.

The “magnetic element” could also support the Apple Pencil and an interface for connecting accessories such as a camera, projector, microphone or light.

Chuwi Hi13

The $ 400 Chuwi Hi13 from 2017 has a similar feel to Apple’s new patent.Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Headquarters

Dropping the accessory tip and connector concept isn’t radically different from what budget PC manufacturer Chuwi released in 2017 with the $ 400 Hi13.

Of course, a more significant point in all of this is the observation that Apple is taking back its famous 2012 quote from its CEO, Tim Cook, who was famous for his malicious comment on Windows 8 converged PCs, noting:

“… Anything can be made to converge, but the problem is that the products are about trade-offs, and you start to compromise to the point where what’s left doesn’t please anyone. You can combine a toaster and a refrigerator, but these things are unlikely to be pleasant for the user. ”

Apple creates Surface

Source: Hijinks Ensue / Joel Watson (2012)

While there is some truth in Cook’s comments (the Windows 11 tablet experience still stands behind Apple’s iPad OS), it’s also accurate that Microsoft’s vision for convertible computers wasn’t a gimmick. Instead, 2-in-1 computers have been a truly transformational build that has had a huge impact on mobile computing in the last decade. I even argued that the Surface Pro was one of the most important PCs of the 2010s.

Apple Patent 2022 Dual screens

Another Apple patent clearly allows you to connect two iPads together.Source: Apple Patent

Indeed, Apple has been slowly transforming its iPad Pro into Surface Pro over the years, starting in 2015 with the Smart Keyboard overlay and pencil, and more recently with the Magic Keyboard 2020 hinged to the iPad Pro. Going a step further with the keyboard and hinged mechanism seems obvious at this point.

Perhaps more interestingly, a new Apple patent shows a macOS-like operating system on an iPad-like device. It has been rumored for years that Apple is merging macOS and iPadOS, although nothing specific has yet been disclosed, except for macOS supporting iOS apps announced in 2019. Whether or not Apple will go this way remains to be seen, but it certainly seems to be feasible. .

No wonder Apple also has another A patent that allows users to combine two iPads to create a two-screen tablet that isn’t much different from Microsoft’s 2019 Surface Neo (but never released). And Bloomberg columnist Mark Gurman noted just a few months ago that Apple is also developing a 20-inch iPad-MacBook hybrid with a folding screen, slated to hit by 2026 (right after the invention of the foldable phone in 2025).

Of course, we already had one computer with a foldable display, and this year there will be several more with displays ranging from 16 to 17 inches, including one from ASUS. It can only mean Apple users will dismiss the idea by 2026 and suddenly think otherwise.

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