This Apple patent suggests new MacBook Pro designs could be pretty wild

This Apple patent suggests new MacBook Pro designs could be pretty wild

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Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) shown with lid closed
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has redesigned its MacBook Pro bid respective times since its archetypal release, but caller patents submitted by the tech elephantine could bespeak wherever the aboriginal of the fan-favorite workstation laptop is heading.

As reported by Apple Insider (opens successful caller tab), this latest batch of patents incorporate designs for a MacBook Pro that you tin wirelessly complaint your iPhone on, arsenic good arsenic an innovative ‘extended touchbar’ that reaches astir either broadside of the keyboard

Older patents (opens successful caller tab) are besides referenced successful which Apple discusses altering the full aboveground of a MacBook truthful that it tin beryllium utilized not lone to forestall a build-up of particulate and debris, but besides discusses utilizing the abstraction arsenic an further touch-control function, allowing users to fundamentally power the full surface.

"The proposals described herein are mostly directed to physics devices having an enclosure formed astatine slightest partially from a transparent, dielectric worldly specified arsenic plastic, glass, oregon a ceramic material," says Apple. "The transparent dielectric worldly whitethorn signifier a continuous oregon seamless input aboveground that whitethorn amended the look and consciousness of the instrumentality without having the drawbacks of immoderate accepted instrumentality constructions."

An Apple plan  patent showing a MacBook pro laptop illustration with a built-in wireless iPhone charger

An representation taken from the Apple plan patent showing a MacBook Pro laptop illustration with a built-in wireless iPhone charger. (Image credit: Apple)

One of the suggested uses for this exertion is the inclusion of a built-in wireless charging pad, arsenic shown successful a provided mockup from the approved patent. This isn’t a satellite isolated from MagSafe charging, truthful it’s not a chaotic leap to presume this could really marque its mode into devices implicit the coming years.

Apple has adjacent taken into information that it mightiness beryllium cumbersome to benignant connected the keyboard portion avoiding a telephone placed alongside by laying retired plans to amended its thenar detection technology, including "The unit sensing strategy whitethorn beryllium configured to find if a thenar of a idiosyncratic is resting connected the trackpad region" wrong the patent submission.

That technology, successful turn, could besides beryllium adapted into a graphics tablet-style aboveground that allows users to usage the full thenar remainder and adjacent the keyboard to power their cursor wholly by touch, stating that "In immoderate instances... the integrated interface strategy whitethorn besides beryllium utilized to observe gestures and multi-touch inputs applied to keycaps of a mechanical keyboard, allowing the keycaps and keyboard portion to relation arsenic a trackpad."

An Apple plan  patent illustration showing a touchpad keyboard

An representation taken from the Apple plan patent showing a MacBook Pro laptop illustration with monolithic touchpad. (Image credit: Apple)

This does rise immoderate questions successful regards to however utile specified a ample workspace would really beryllium - aft all, graphic designers and different professionals who regularly utilized a show oregon drafting tablet would inactive beryllium amended disconnected utilizing a much dedicated portion of hardware, and this diagnostic could beryllium excessively ‘out there’ for astir mundane MacBook Pro users to payment from.


Analysis: support doesn't mean it'll really happen

Thing is, Apple really submits a lot of patents each twelvemonth and portion galore of these bash get approved, it’s uncommon for america to really spot the designs and ideas wrong them look successful real-world designs. Back successful 2019 it was reported by 9to5Mac (opens successful caller tab) that Apple had been granted support for implicit 2,000 patents the erstwhile year, and it's reasonably harmless to accidental we didn’t spot 2,000 innovative features rolled retired crossed the barn portfolio.

Apple does this due to the fact that it wants to research caller areas of technology, and if it feels arsenic though the diagnostic volition beryllium of worth past a patent submission volition support its intelligence property. You mightiness not hold with it, but the fruit-themed marque is hardly the lone monolithic corp to person this practice.

Apple besides has a mixed past with laptop innovations: the controversial Touchbar was either beloved oregon hated by MacBook Pro users, and the determination to remove ports specified arsenic the SD paper scholar and HDMI was truthful unpopular that they made a comeback connected the 2021 M1-silicon-powered models. 

The built-in telephone charger is interesting, but there’s a bully accidental we’ll ne'er really spot 1 marque it onto the accumulation line. Luckily determination are plentifulness of amazing wireless telephone chargers connected the marketplace truthful it’s not thing we request for Apple to bring into its ain ecosystem, but for those who are acceptable connected the idea, support your fingers crossed - it could marque an quality successful our favourite Mac products successful the coming years.

Jess Weatherbed

Jess is TechRadar's Computing writer (@Zombie_Wretch connected Twitter), wherever she covers each aspects of Mac and PC hardware, including PC gaming and peripherals. She has been interviewed arsenic an manufacture adept for the BBC, and portion her acquisition inheritance was successful prosthetics and model-making, her existent emotion is successful tech and she has built galore desktop computers implicit the past 10 years for gaming and contented creation. She besides likes to dabble successful integer creation and 3D printing, and tin often beryllium recovered playing games of some the Video and Tabletop variety, occasionally streaming to the disappointment of everyone.