A new patent granted to Apple puts us on the trail of a foldable MacBook, a dual-screen laptop that would follow the design line we saw in Microsoft’s Surface Neo .
Although the window of opportunity for Microsoft and its partners in Windows seems to have passed by not launching the aforementioned Surface Neo, we believe that there is room to follow the path that Samsung has set in smartphones with the Fold and Flip series.
Unlike a foldable phone or tablet, a dual-screen laptop offers some benefits that are better suited to that form factor , not to mention a design that should be more reliable and durable. Market watchers and technology experts may already be familiar with some of the ideas that Microsoft presented with the Neo and other of its partners, such as ASUS with the Project Precog and Lenovo Yoga.
Apple’s patent for this foldable MacBook was filed three years ago and has now been granted . Faced with the idea of extending the desktop, Apple’s idea is to treat the second screen as a dedicated input area , acting for virtual keyboards, touchpads, gesture controls, and other input methods.
The patent does not show that the screen acts as an extension of the main screen, but it would be possible as we saw in Windows devices and Samsung folding Android devices. What makes this patent unique is the amount of flexibility it offers. In addition to the keyboard layout, a virtual display would allow users to switch to a more “ergonomic” keyboard layout or to position the touchpad in their preferred position.
It can also be used for other types of inputs, such as controllers for a game or common touch gestures. Interestingly, there are even some provisions to add peripherals on top, similar to what’s offered by the Surface Dial, or to have biometrics like Touch ID with a separate top plate.
Of course, patents do not directly signify a product launch, and Apple’s apparent aversion to installing touchscreens on MacBooks further reduces the possibility of such a device being marketed. Still, it’s interesting to see the possibilities for a dual-screen laptop, a foldable MacBook that could have been the future of the Surface Neo had it actually been made.
What you can take for sure is that the foldable iPhone will hit the market sooner or later. Years ago, Apple patented a design that defined various types of dual-screen and / or flexible-screen electronic devices.