Apple continues to work on a possible alternative Magic Keyboard design with a new slidable feature and possible second display
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent that relates to an alternative iPad Magic Keyboard design that allows the keyboard to slide out from the base to provide users with a way to comfortably position their keyboard for work. The patent also covers the possibility of the keyboard section being a second display.
According to Apple, the position of the input device relative to the hinge can be continuously adjustable within a range of relative positions, the electronic device being stable across an entirety of the range of relative positions. The range of relative positions can include a first position wherein the electronic device is at an about 120-degree angle relative to the input device and a second position wherein the electronic device is at an about 135-degree angle relative to the input device. The input device can be movable between a locked position relative to the bottom portion and an unlocked position relative to the bottom portion as a result of mounting the electronic device to the input device.
In some cases, the sliding input device can be moved between a locked position and an unlocked position relative to the case. In this way, the input device can be prevented from moving (e.g., falling off of or sliding out of the bounds of the length and width dimensions of the closed-configuration case) while it is not being used. Attachment of the electronic device to the input device can cause the input device to unlock relative to the case and to thereby be able to slide and translate.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates an iPad using a possible next-gen Smart Keyboard with the bottom portion being slidable as shown by the arrow at the bottom of the keyboard.
Apple's patent FIG 12 above shows a side view of another computing system having a removable input device. In this example, the input device #1218 can be releasably mountable to the bottom portion #1214 by connectors such as magnetic elements in the devices #1214, #1218 or mechanically interlockable parts. The bottom end #1228 of the electronic device #1202 can be configured to contact the inner surface #1230 of the bottom portion when the input device is removed. Removal of the input device #1218 can allow the user to reposition the input device to any preferred position relative to the electronic device #1202.
Apple's patent FIG. 11 below shows a perspective view of other elements of the computing system #1100. In this view, the electronic device #1102 is mounted to the input device #1118 and the case #1106. A pin-and-slot configuration can guide the movement of the input device relative to the bottom portion #1114 of the case #1106. The pins #1120 can be part of the input device, and the slots #1122 can be part of the bottom portion #1114, or vice versa. The pins can be substantially stationary relative to the input device, and the slots #1122 can be stationary relative to the bottom portion. In this way, movement of the input device #1118 relative to the bottom portion can cause the pins to traverse the slots #1122 within the limits of the ends of the slots.
Apple's patent FIG. 13 above illustrates a perspective view of an additional embodiment of the computing system. In some embodiments, the input device (#1318) can further comprise an auxiliary input device (#1322) – a track pad or other interface device.
Uniquely Apple notes that area #1320 in FIG. 13 could be a keyboard or a second display.
Apple's second patent application 20210341967 regarding this accessory is adding 20 new patent claims.