Apple has redesigned its MacBook Pro series several times since its original launch, but recent patents filed by the tech giant could indicate where the future of the fan-favorite workstation laptop is headed.
As reported by Apple Insider (opens in new tab)this latest batch of patents contain designs for a MacBook Pro on which you can wirelessly charge your iPhone, as well as an innovative ‘extended touch bar’ that reaches both sides of the keyboard.
older patents (opens in new tab) are also mentioned in which Apple discusses altering the entire surface of a MacBook so that it can be used not only to prevent dust and debris from accumulating, but also discuss using space as an additional touch control function, allowing users to essentially control the entire surface.
“The proposals described here are generally aimed at electronic devices with an enclosure formed at least partially of a transparent dielectric material such as plastic, glass or ceramic material,” says Apple. “The transparent dielectric material can form a seamless or continuous inlet surface that can improve the device’s appearance without having the disadvantages of some traditional device constructions.”
One of the suggested uses for this technology is the inclusion of a built-in wireless charger, as shown in a mockup provided by the approved patent. This isn’t a world apart from MagSafe charging, so it’s not a wild leap to assume this could actually make its way to devices in the next few years.
Apple even took into account that typing on the keyboard can be cumbersome, avoiding a phone placed next to it, laying out plans to improve its palm sensing technology, including “The force sensing system can be configured to determine if the palm of the hand of a user is resting in the trackpad region” within the patent application.
This technology, in turn, could also be adapted into a graphic tablet-style surface that allows users to use the entire palm rest and even the keyboard to control their cursor entirely by touch, stating that “In some cases… the integrated interface The system can also be used to detect gestures and multi-touch input applied to keys on a mechanical keyboard, allowing the keys and keyboard region to function as a trackpad.”
This raises some questions about the usefulness of such a large workspace – after all, graphic designers and other professionals who regularly use a drawing screen or tablet would still be better off using more dedicated hardware, and this feature can be very ‘out there’. for most average MacBook Pro users to benefit.
Analysis: Approval does not mean it will actually happen
The fact is that Apple actually sends much of patents each year, and while many of them are approved, it’s rare that we see the designs and ideas within them appear in real-world designs. In 2019 it was reported by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab) that Apple received approval for over 2,000 patents in the previous year, and it’s pretty safe to say that we haven’t seen 2,000 innovative features implemented across the barn portfolio.
Apple does this because it wants to explore new areas of technology, and if it feels the feature will be of value, filing a patent will protect its intellectual property. You might not agree with this, but the fruit-themed brand is hardly the only major corporation to have this practice.
Apple also has a mixed history with laptop innovations: the controversial Touchbar was either loved or hated by MacBook Pro users, and the decision to remove ports like the SD card reader and HDMI was so unpopular that they came back in the 2021 M1-models. silicon powered.
The built-in phone charger is interesting, but there’s a good chance we’ll never see one make it to the production line. Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing wireless phone chargers on the market, so it’s not something we need Apple to bring into its own ecosystem, but for those who are determined, keep your fingers crossed – it could show up on our favorite Mac products in the coming years. years old.