Does Apple Have an iPad Pro or Convertible MacBook Air Up Its Sleeve?

By Sam Gibbs on at

Tim Cook might have mocked the idea of a convertible MacBook-come-tablet, but a recently awarded patent shows that at least Apple's thinking about the idea. Could Apple have an iPad-Macbook Air crossover to take on the Microsoft Surface Pro in the pipeline?

The patent describes a 'wireless display for electronic devices' so Apple's proposed plan might be the inverse of traditional convertible tablets -- the electronics that power the thing might be in the keyboard half, not stored in the screen. Of course, that would make it pretty useless as a tablet, should you want to leave the proximity of the keyboard deck, so I can't really see that happening. The patent also describes a system of wireless power, which Apple has rejected thus far for its iOS line at least.

Even though we've got the iPad, people have been hankering after a proper, OS X-powered touchscreen tablet for ages; you only have to look at the excessively expensive ModBook line to know that. I, for one, would love something like this. A MacBook Air that you can take the screen off and carry with you, should you just want to consume media or read something. In fact, basically what I want is a Microsoft Surface Pro analogue with a hard hinge that you can genuinely use like a laptop until you want a tablet. Oh, and make it last at least 6 hours on a single charge.

I'd say this is all pretty unlikely at this stage, even though we are expecting not only an iPad refresh, but a MacBook Air refresh in the near future. Treat this patent as something just punted out there for now, but Apple, if you make the Air into something like this, just shut up and take my money. [USPTO via TechRadar]