In 2022, Apple filed three distinct patents representing a single project for the iPad. Obviously, Apple engineers work on different types of hardware that Apple executives can choose from for a final product. On February 3, Apple vividly published two of the three inventions.
In the first invention, Apple introduced a modular system where users could choose a traditional keyboard or secondary artist display to use with the Apple Pencil, to use in other game console interfaces, or to use as a DJ or mini device. piano keyboard etc.
For more information on this invention, see our report titled “New Apple Patent Reveals Highly Configurable MacBook-like Computing System.” In photo #106 above, we see a touch surface display component that can double as an iPad for leisurely reading. There are several graphics in this report showing the many different configurations that Apple envisions.
In Apple’s second invention, we see how this version allows the screen to be positioned in two directions, face in and out. When facing the screen and closed, the screen will act like an iPad with the keyboard keys placed on the back of the screen so that the back sits flat on the user and not on the keyboard as most 2-in-1 notebooks do.
As shown in the figure. 7C below, magnetic element #780b may move between first position #781a and second position #781b.
In the patented Apple FIG. 3A above, we see that the hinge may provide an interface and/or in 4A the hinge can magnetically support an Apple Pencil; in fig. 8A and 8B see that the hinge can provide a communication interface that supports the addition of other accessories such as a camera, projector, microphone or light. For more information on this invention, see our report, “Apple Files for Patent Covering an Articulating Keyboard Extension for the iPad That Gives the Laptop a Super-Flexible Feel.”
The US Patent and Trademark Office yesterday published its third invention on the subject of next-generation iPad accessories. In this version, Apple notes that the accessory can also provide a soft-touch virtual keyboard that is not hard on the user’s fingers. Figs. Figure 2 below shows a perspective view of a computer and an input device;
More specifically, in FIG. 2, Computing Device #202 is arranged with Touchscreen #210 where the user can view the touchscreen while also being able to view and interact with Keyboard #212 in a normal, laptop-like orientation. In embodiments where the input device #204 is combined with a stand or support for the computing device, the input device can be arranged to be configurable in the relative position shown in the figure. 2 while the computing device is also arranged in the relative position shown in the figure. 2.
Apple patented FIG. Figure 3 above shows an exploded side view of the figure assembly. 2; Figs. Figure 6 below shows a segmented perspective view of a rendering of a computer and an input device.
(Click on the image to enlarge it)
In the third version of this invention for Apple, they added 20 new technical points to better protect the patent. Here are 12 of the major new claims:
- Computer and electronic accessory kit, consisting of: electronic accessory with attached device and attached device including magnet; A computer consisting of: a housing with a display; Coupling section that can be attached to the electronic accessory by means of the magnets of the attached device; and a sensor configured to detect the presence of an electronic accessory and cause the computing device to execute program instructions stored in the memory device in response to the detection of the electronic accessory.
- … where the connecting section includes magnetically attractive elements.
- … where the program’s instructions include instructions for changing the user interface that the display screen displays.
- … where program instructions change the visual configuration of the display.
- … where an electrical connection is established between the computing device and the electronic accessory in response to the connection of the electronic accessory to the computing device.
- … where the attachment device is configured to orient the electronic accessory in relation to the computing device.
- … where the electronic accessory includes a computer case or computer cover.
- … where the electronic accessory is configured to attach removablely to the back surface of the computing device.
- Electronic device, consisting of: a housing consisting of an electronic display; Attachment interface configured to attach the electronic device to the accessory on a removable basis; A sensor configured to detect the presence of the accessory; A processor and memory device that has executable instructions coded on it, in which the instructions, when executed by the processor, cause the processor to modify the user interface of the electronic display in response to detection of the accessory.
- Electronic device and accessory kit, consisting of: an electronic accessory comprising a magnetic mounting device; An electronic device consisting of: a shell; display a subject in housing; and a coupling section that can be attached to the magnetic fastener; Where the connection section and the attachment device are configured to guide and maintain alignment between the accessory and the electronic device.
- Compilation of Claim 18, wherein the user interface provided by the display of the electronic device is configured to be modified in response to sensor detection of the electronic accessory.
- Compilation of Claim #19, where a software setting for the electronic device is configured to be modified based on the location of the electronic accessory on the electronic device.
For more details, see Apple Patent Application US 20220413633 A1.
It would be great to see Apple try to shake things up in the iPad space over the next year or so, and it would be exciting to see a handful of patented features in 2022.
- Terry Van Osdal: Hardware Engineer, iPad Group
- Adam Garelli: Senior Product Design Architect, Core Integration Architecture
- Senem Ezgi Emgin: HW + SW Prototyping Engineer
- Art Clarke: Director of ML Developer Experience Product Management and AIML Privacy Champion. Clarke notes: “We are building the AI/ML platform that Apple developers use to ship amazing user experiences with industry-leading privacy commitments to their users.