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Apple introduced the iPad Pro back in November 2015 along with their Smart Cover, a soft cover accessory that included a keyboard made of material. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple where we see that Apple's engineering team had considered a hard cover accessory for the iPad Pro. Whether this is still being contemplated for the future isn't known, though some Apple fans would like to see a sturdier keyboard and trackpad accessory from Apple. Many such third party accessories already exist. Apple's engineers also illustrate using an iPhone as a MacBook's trackpad and that's a humorous idea that will never see the light of day.


2af fig. 2


Apple's design in patent FIG. 2 noted above is a MacBook with an iPhone as a trackpad. This isn't a plausible design. In the bigger picture, Apple has for years thought of repurposing the trackpad area for other functionalities with a plug-in design for accessories. Below is a patent figure from a 2006 patent report,



Apple's patent FIG. 4 noted below from Apple's current patent application is a clamshell accessory for an iPad that could be an alternative to their current soft cover Smart Keyboard. It would also come with a traditional trackpad many Apple would like to see on the iPad accessory.


4 AF X99 FIG. 4


Apple's patent application was filed back in Q3 2016. For more details about this invention, click here. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.


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