Finally! Apple Reveals their Hybrid Notebook Tablet Details
Patently Apple has been the only one that has been pounding the table for a notebook tablet hybrid going all the way back to 2008 and prior to any talk of this from the Intel camp who is now preparing their Ultrabook Convertible for release this summer. In February we posted another report that discussed integrated touch displays coming to Macs eventually and the naysayers surfaced once again to say that it was a brain dead idea. Well, today the US Patent and Trademark Office revealed Apple's patent that is in fact about a true hybrid notebook tablet in all its glory. The patent filing includes details of a very cool display with a retractable magnetic mechanism that hides itself once detached from the MacBook's main body. Today, on paper at least, Apple has finally revealed their first patent filing about a hybrid notebook-tablet with actual details.
Apple Introduces their Hybrid Notebook-Tablet
Apple Finally reveals their hybrid notebook-tablet device. 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.
The display may communicate with the base wirelessly and data and/or power may be transmitted to and from the base and the display without the need for cables or wires. The data and power transmission may be wireless when the display is decoupled from the base and wired when the display is coupled to the base.
In other embodiments, the power and/or data transfer may be wireless when the display is either coupled or decoupled from the base. In one example, the display and base may each communicate via a 60 GHz wireless chip. In another example, substantially any type of data transmission may be used, e.g., Bluetooth, WiFi, and so on.
The support members and/or connection portions may also be retractable into their respective enclosures. In these embodiments, the support members and connection portions may retract when the display is decoupled from the base and may extend as the display is repositioned with the base. For example, the support members and/or connection portions may snap fit via a latch or spring biased member into place when the display is docked in the base.
Apple states that the computer device can be both a single operably connected device and two separate communicating devices.
It should be noted that in some embodiments, the display 104 may also transfer and receive data from an electronic component other than or in addition to the base. For example, the display may receive data from a digital camera, smart phone, and so on. This may allow the display to be a remote display for substantially any type of electronic computing device.
The Hybrid's Touch Display
Furthermore, in some embodiments, the screen may include a touch sensing or other input mechanism, such as a capacitive touch sensor, to allow the screen to further function as an input device for the computing device. This type of input functionality may be helpful when the display is removed from the base.
The Hybrid's Detachable & Retractable Display Mechanisms
Apple reveals that the support members 134 (highlighted in yellow above under the display) may retract into the enclosure 116 when the display is detached from the base 102. For example, the support members may be biased upwards by a spring and when the display is detached from the base the spring may force the support members into the enclosure. Alternatively, the support members may be biased by a spring downwards so that the support members may "snap fit" into position with respect to the connection portions 142.
The support members may be operably coupled to a switch, latch, relay or other switching element. When the display is removed from the base, the switch may electronically or mechanically retract the support members into the structure of the display (#116). For example, the switch may contract when the display is detached, contracting the support members. For example, the switch may have a magnetic polarization or other magnetized force and may interact with another element, such as an electromagnet, to mechanically pull the support members into or out of the enclosure.
Transferring Power Wirelessly from the MacBook Base to the Detached Display
Apple interestingly notes that's the MacBook's display and base may be detached from each other and still transfer power wirelessly. For example, the support members and the connection portions may include coils or capacitive plates that may transfer power wirelessly.
In this example, the support members may be electrically coupled to the base, specifically, the support members may be in electrically coupled to the connection portions. The support members and the connection portions may include corresponding coils that may transfer power inductively. The connection portions may be in electrical communication with the power source and may have an induced magnetic field when powered. The induced magnetic field may induce a current in the coils in the support members, thus providing electricity to the display. Similarly, the support members and the connection portions may transfer power through capacitive inductance, or other wireless power transfer mechanisms.
Apple credits Industrial Designer Duncan Kerr as the sole inventor of this patent application which was originally filed under serial number 250673 in Q3 2011. It should be noted that this isn't a design patent and so the exact look of the end result hasn't been revealed. The patent figures are there to simply convey the mechanics of the device.
Patently Apple's report is based on Apple's "Detailed Description" of their patent application. To review Apple's patent claims, see Apple's patent filing. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing to market of such an Apple product is unknown at this time.
A Note for Tech Sites Covering our Report: We ask tech sites covering our report to kindly limit the use of our graphics to one image. Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.
Patently Apple presents a detailed summary of patent applications with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application should be read in its entirety for full and accurate details. Revelations found in patent applications shouldn't be interpreted as rumor or fast-tracked according to rumor timetables. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
A Hearty Thanks goes out to Google News and their Fan Base for Supporting this Report
Other Great Sites Covering our Original Report
Google News, Twitter, MacDailyNews, Business Insider, NU The Netherlands, Yahoo! Finance, The Mac Observer, PadGadget, BGR, iClarified, iLounge, MacTechNews Germany, 3D Tablets, Technology Personalized, Giornalettismo Italy, Macerkopf Germany, Showmetech Brazil, Tweakers Belgium, MacSurfer, Tweetbuzz, Facebook, 9to5 Mac,Techbrowsing, Apple Investor News, The Fly on the Wall, iNews, Macnews, MTS Russia, News Freedom Hong Kong, and more
New on Patent Bolt this Week
Nokia Granted a Design Patent for the Lumia 920 Smartphone
Three Microsoft Patents Surface that Detail Tile Arrangement
Lenovo Invents Flex-Display Functionality for Smartphones
Sony May have Invented a Killer eBook Design
Does this mean that Microsoft is stomping on yet another Apple patent?
Posted by: Rick | April 09, 2013 at 09:48 AM
If your read the report instead of just react, you'd see that Apple had revealed their initial work on this in 2008. So on paper, Apple was miles ahead of Wintel.
Real "Convertibles" will arrive this summer, though a few have toyed with the idea earlier. Yet that's why the byline starts with "Finally!"
On the other hand Jordan, the Wintel camp blatantly copied Apple's MacBook Air (Asus), so you tend to only see what you want to see.
Additionally, if would have read my comment below, I'm all for this type of product and will likely buy an HP unit this summer because Apple is likely not to have one for a while.
I edited out your typical Android tirade over Apple never innovating, and more, because you people have no balance. This is an Apple patent report, Jordan. I'm reporting on it. Get over it. Ha!
Posted by: Jack Purcher | April 06, 2013 at 09:54 AM
This is one case where Apple is behind, where Apple has a "me-too" product.
Posted by: Jordan | April 06, 2013 at 09:32 AM
as long as it runs an os thats more like osx [osxi ?] and not just ios [ iosx ??] then itd be great :D
Posted by: jonathan | April 05, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Hi Rick, thanks for the question.
For me, who first discovered Apple's secret work on a notebook hybrid (at least a patent revelation)five years ago, it's great to finally see some details to a product that will be a natural evolution for their MacBooks. Wintel will be launching this kind of product this summer and I'll likely be getting one for my work. I'd like an Apple solution like this, but they don't have one and Cook isn't for it, well at least publicly that is.
It's a natural combo of products. Apple should have been first with this, but the iPad is doing exceedingly well. So who can blame them. They're having problems as is in trying to find enough touch displays. A hybrid notebook would over-stress their supply chain at the moment. But competition may force their hand in the coming years if the hybrid category does well over time.
So it's great to see that Apple, at the very least, having a detailed focused patent application on record for such a device in the wings should they decide to pursue this avenue at a later date. For me, it couldn't be soon enough.
Posted by: Jack Purcher | April 04, 2013 at 08:56 AM
Posted by: Rick Roberts | April 04, 2013 at 08:39 AM