A patent application from Apple published this month details a notebook computer with a detachable tablet touch screen.
Discovered by Patently Apple, application 250673, which was initially filed in September 2011 with the US Patent and Trademark Office, but was only made public on April 4 this year, describes a device very similar to the convertible notebooks and hybrid portable computers that have been launching on the market in recent months, many of which, like the HP Envy X2 and the Dell XPS 12 convertible Ultrabook run Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. While the ASUS Transformer Prime looks like an ultrabook but runs Android like a traditional tablet.
The intriguing thing about Apple's approach is that the detachable screen and keyboard base can communicate, pass data and charge wirelessly. The application also details how the detachable screen portion of the device could wirelessly interact with other devices and work as both a remote control as well as a remote input device for the base computer.
However, nothing in the filing is revolutionary, merely innovative -- but therein lies the key to Apple's success: taking an existing idea and making it work better.
The company is reportedly hard at work integrating the best features of its mobile operating system iOS into its desktop OSX operating system. Many believe this will bring the Siri voice-operated virtual assistant to computers as well as tablets and smartphones, but the integration could also include touchscreen commands to complement the smart swipe and gesture-based track pad controls already built into Apple's computer range.
Illustration of Apple patent Application 250673.Photo: AFP/Courtesy of Patently Apple