Apple’s vision of a tablet-laptop hybrid finally comes into focus

Zach Epstein

Apple Tablet Laptop Hybrid
Apple Tablet Laptop Hybrid

Apple’s (AAPL) vision of a hybrid device that combines a touchscreen tablet and a notebook computer has finally been revealed — and it looks a whole lot like dozens of devices that are already on the market. Patently Apple recently dug up a newly published patent that details at least one route Apple may take if it ever decides to launch such a product. And while the hybrid device is novel in some regards, it also closely resembles a number of devices that have been widely available for years now.

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“Apple finally reveals their hybrid notebook-tablet device,” Patently Apple’s Jack Purcher wrote. ”Apple states that their invention may take the form of a computing device including a base and a display selectively removable from the base. When connected or coupled to the base, the display may be rotatable and may pivot from an open position to a closed position. When disconnected or decoupled from the base, the display may be positioned in substantially any manner suitable by the user for viewing the display.”

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While Apple’s vision may include various underlying technologies that are not found in currently available devices — for example, the patent describes a system that would transfer power wirelessly between the device’s base and display when the two are detached — the concept, pictured below, is very familiar.

Convertible notebooks like Asus’ Transformer line and Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) Envy X2 are two examples of a device category that has existed for years. Many Apple fans have been clamoring for a touch-enabled Mac tablet for years though, so a MacBook device like the one described in Apple’s patent would likely be welcomed with open arms.

Images of Apple’s tablet/laptop hybrid concept follow below.


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