A newly published patent shows Apple could be developing a convertible MacBook to rival Microsoft’s Surface Book.
The Microsoft Surface Book features a 2-in-1 convertible design, allowing the user to rotate and pin its touch display at a variety of angles.
In addition, the user can separate the screen and keyboard completely, effectively converting it into a high-powered Windows tablet.
Although Apple has previously said it will be sticking to its conventional clamshell design for the MacBook, it now appears that the company is at least interested in venturing into the realm of convertible designs.
A patent posted on the USPTO’s site on 24 September details a new hinge design which could possibly be used in a convertible MacBook.
The hinge system, which is also illustrated in a new iPad Keyboard accessory design, is described as containing multiple roller and space elements, as well as a retention structure passing through each of these elements.
The retention part supposedly provides tension to increase friction between the roller and spacer and creates a counterbalance to offset the device’s weight in order to pin the screen in place.
This implies that the MacBook’s screen could be rotated to angles not available in the current generations of Apple’s laptops, which can only be opened up to a maximum of 110 degrees from the closed position.
The hinge will supposedly also allow the user to detach the screen completely.
The patent figure below shows what the MacBook sporting this hinge could look like.
iPad Keyboard accessory
As noted above, the patent also details how this hinge would work in a new iPad Keyboard accessory.
While the company currently offers an attachable keyboard for its tablets, the new hinge would allow for orienting it at a far wider range of angles.
One version of the device comes with a button that switches the device from the closed to open position automatically.
The figures below show what the iPad keyboard accessory with the new hinge design could look like.