This is such a good idea that we can’t believe no one’s done this before.
It’s emerged that Apple filed a patent in September last year for a notebook ‘chassis’ into which you can insert your iPhone – which becomes a trackpad – or an iPad, which becomes a touchscreen.
That’s right – you’ll basically be able to turn your phone or iPad into a laptop format, enabling you to make use of all that computing power in a different way.
However, the terms of the patent dictate that the accessory device (ie. the ‘laptop’ chassis) can have “little or no independent processing resources in the form of a CPU or similar comprehensive processor” – so it won’t be able to add computing power to whatever your iPhone or iPad gives it. However it can provide ‘extended functionality’ – that is, “auxiliary processing resources, such a graphical processing unit, or GPU, or other processing resources that can support the functions of the portable computing device”.
Of course, this being Apple, it’s not an entirely new idea, with the ASUS Padfone attempting something similar back in 2014, although to be fair it is distinctively different enough to be granted a patent.
And, of course, you could argue that devices that can turn your phone or tablet into a laptop already exist, with bluetooth keyboards and the like. However, this does look rather more elegant a solution for the iPad, and the iPhone version is particularly novel, enabling you to not only type properly, but also utilise the phone as a trackpad for navigation.
Apple files many of these patents, so it remains to be seen if it ever sees the light of day, but it could be an extremely cool accessory in the near future.