We saw some really interesting convertible touch device patents back in August, but they mainly pertained to a sort of “kneeling” iMac and the transitions between OS X and iOS. Now, in a new bevy of patents granted to Apple (including some I examined) we’re seeing a new, interesting sliding-screen design for a MacBook-tablet hybrid.
Back at the Apple event in October, Jobs mentioned that touchscreens like to be horizontal. A “standing” touchscreen attached to a laptop is a bad idea, something ergonomics experts have already determined. But this design allows for a device to be both a horizontal tablet and a vertical screen for touchpad and keyboard input. To be honest, though, I’m not sure it could be executed in as attractive and lightweight a way as would be necessary for it to be a success.
Dell is already exploring this space with the Inspiron Duo, but I think they might have undershot as far as quality goes. A device like this can command a premium, and shouldn’t cut corners, as the touch interface on the Duo seems to do.
It may also be that an Apple engineer found a clever way to do this kind of thing, and Apple just wanted to reserve it for themselves should they ever feel the urge to put one out. No way to tell right now, but don’t expect one of these to come out in January.
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