NEW YORK — Apple has been granted a patent for a Macintosh computer with a removable monitor.
The patent, which was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, describes a “computer including a base and a display selectively removable from the base.”
Before you say, “Oh, that’s the iPad Pro,” the patent says the computing guts are underneath the keyboard — not behind the display like the iPad Pro. In other words, it’s a laptop with a removable monitor, not a tablet with a removable keyboard.
It’s basically the opposite of the Microsoft Surface or iPad Pro, where the keyboard is a nice-to-have but ultimately unnecessary accessory. In the patent Apple was just granted, both the monitor and the keyboard are essential — you can’t have one without the other.
In the patent, the monitor pops off the keyboard, and the screen can continue to function, wirelessly connecting to the processor and all the other internal gizmos in the Mac’s base. The patent doesn’t say whether the Mac would have a touchscreen.
The patent was first spotted by Mikhail Avady, founder of SmartUp, a legal technology company out of Atlanta.
Apple is one of the last remaining holdouts of the two-in-one, touchscreen laptop craze. Laptop/tablet hybrids are the fastest-growing segment of the PC business (though Macs have also far outpaced the competition and are one of the only brands to grow their sales in the past year).
A wireless display would be an interesting twist on the two-in-one, since most PC makers have opted to make tablet-style laptops with a snap-on keyboard.
Apple was also granted a patent on Tuesday for an Apple Watch-like gadget with a flexible display that curves around your wrist. Like a 1980s-style snap bracelet, it could be flattened out on a table and then instantly flexed when slapped onto your wrist.
The gadgets that Apple has patented are not necessarily a preview of what’s to come. Apple patents many technologies that never actually see the light of day. But the patents do illustrate some of the ideas that Apple’s engineering team is dreaming up.