Apple Files for a Patent covering a Hinged Keyboard Accessory for iPad that provides a Notebook Feel with Superior Flexibility
Earlier this morning Patently Apple posted an IP report titled "A new Apple Patent Reveals an Exciting Highly Configurable Modularized MacBook-Like Computing System." Apple's engineering team is on a creative roll with a second patent application this morning from the US Patent & Trademark Office that relates to a new hinged iPad keyboard accessory that provides multiple installation modes that could deliver superior flexibility for users.
In one embodiment the new accessory device iPad includes a base portion and a coupling mechanism. The base portion may include a keyboard having a set of electromechanical keys. The coupling mechanism may be positioned along a side of the keyboard and may be configured to rotatably couple the base portion to the tablet computing device having a touchscreen display.
The accessory device may include a coupling mechanism for releasably coupling the base portion of the accessory device to a tablet computing device in multiple different installation modes. The coupling mechanism may define an attachment interface for retaining the tablet computing device to the base portion. The attachment interface may be at least partially defined by a body section of the coupling mechanism.
Apple's patent FIGS. 1A-1F below illustrate a system (#100) that includes a an iPad (#110) and an accessory device (#120)O that are capable of being releasably coupled together in multiple installation modes as presented below.
The accessory device includes a base portion #122 and a coupling mechanism #130. The coupling mechanism is capable of releasably coupling the iPad to the base portion of the accessory device; FIG. 1E illustrates that the iPad could be reversed with the display on the backside when the user folds it down over the keyboard.
As shown in FIG. 7C below, the magnetic element #780b may move between a first position #781a and a second position #781b.
In Apple's patent FIG. 3A above we see that the hinge may provide an interface and/or in 4A the hinge could magnetically support an Apple Pencil; In FIG. 8A we see that the hinge could provide a connection interface that would support adding other accessories such as a camera, projector, a microphone or light.
For more details, see Apple's patent application number 20220035417. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.