Apple’s Latest Patent Hints at Touchscreen Mac Development


While anticipation for new iPads remains high, Apple enthusiasts have long yearned for a touchscreen Mac akin to the Microsoft Surface. Recent reports have provided only faint glimmers of hope for such a device from Apple, but a newly granted patent suggests that this dream may still materialize in the future.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has awarded Apple patent 11,320,869, titled “Hinged Keyboard Accessory Having Multiple Installation Modes for a Tablet Computing Device.” This patent outlines the design of a tablet accessory reminiscent of Apple’s Magic Keyboard. Detailed within the patent are various functionalities, such as attachment and detachment mechanisms, folding capabilities, and stylus support.

Notably, the patent also features illustrations depicting a tablet interface resembling macOS. These illustrations prominently showcase elements familiar to Mac users, including the Finder interface with menu bars, icons, windows, and desktop features.

While the patent consistently refers to the accessory as intended for a “tablet,” it notably avoids specific mention of the term “iPad.” Coupled with the macOS-like interface depicted in the illustrations, speculation arises that Apple could be developing a touchscreen-enabled Mac, with the mentioned accessory serving as a companion device.

This patent follows a similar exploration by Apple in July 2023, when the company was granted a patent for “Modularized Computing and Input Devices.” This earlier patent detailed a MacBook-like device with interchangeable components, such as displays and keyboards, hinting at a potential evolution in Mac hardware.

As with all patent filings, it’s essential to recognize that companies frequently explore concepts that may never come to fruition as consumer products. Even if approved for production, it typically takes several years before such developments reach the market. Nevertheless, these patents offer intriguing insights into Apple’s ongoing research and potential future directions in hardware innovation.