Apple patent points to a modular MacBook future – and a record player

Patent applications often give us an interesting window into what a company is plotting, and a new Apple MacBook one just came to light: it shows off a computing device that can have different elements (like a keyboard) connected to it magnetically.

The patent (via Gizmodo) describes the device, which “can be reconfigurable to include one or more electrical devices in various configurations” – and displays and keyboards are specifically mentioned and shown in the accompanying diagrams.

It puts us in mind of the Framework DIY laptop in terms of modular laptops, though Apple’s plans look substantially different. The patent was first applied for a couple of years ago, though it was only approved earlier this week.

As always with patents, this isn’t a guarantee that a modular MacBook is ever going to appear – it just shows that Apple’s engineers are thinking about ways in which they could innovate with the design and functionality of its laptops.

Apple patent showing a display and record player

One potential use for the new system (Image credit: USPTO / Apple)

Vinyl vibrations

As AppleInsider points out, Microsoft applied for a similar set of patents ahead of launching the Surface series of products. It’s possible that Apple is thinking of blurring the line between laptops and tablets even further.

While there are no 2-in-1 MacBooks right now, the steady evolution of iPadOS has meant it’s now more like a desktop operating system than ever. We might soon see something like the Surface Pro 9 from Apple.

Interestingly, one of the diagrams included with the patent shows a record turntable in front of a display, as one of the possible attachments. Music producers or DJs could use the setup, complete with a touchscreen display, Apple suggests.

Whether or not Apple is going to bring out an LP player of its own remains to be seen, but it shows off the versatility of the system being proposed. For now, watch this space: any device like this is probably still several years away.

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