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Timely Apple Patent Introduces iMac-Like Docking Station


On January 3, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple's patent application titled "Integrated monitor and docking station." This timely patent presents us with a glimpse into a new iMac-like docking station that Apple has been working on since 2006. Two of the unique features presented in this patent include a telephonic handset and a liquid cooling system. With product launches at MacWorld 2008 likely to include notebooks, a notebook companion like this proposed docking station could be the surprise launch of the year.


Apple's Patent Background  


Traditionally a portable computer docking station requires a separate external monitor to be connected (e.g., by cable) to the docking station when a display other than the integrated display of the portable computer is desired to be used with the docking station. Often a significant amount of desk space is required for placement of this docking station and separate display. Attempts have been made to conserve the required amount of desk space by allowing the external display to be stacked on top of the docking station. However, the stacked combination still occupies a large amount of space and is cumbersome to move and transport. Therefore there exists a need for a docking station and display combination that is configured in a more efficient form.


MacBook Docking Station  





Apple's patent FIG. 1A (click patent figure to enlarge) is a diagram illustrating the front view of a proposed docking station. The design, in general, carries continuity with their current iMac desktop design. The illustration points to an Apple MacBook sliding into this new docking station that is described as including an iSight webcam and other peripherals such as a speaker, microphone, storage device, memory card reader, a telephonic handset, a battery charger and more – including a liquid cooling system.  


Rear and Side Views of Docking Station  




 Click to enlarge patent figure.


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Update: Apple was granted this patent on March 23, 2010. A new cleaner graphic is available to view here.




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