Apple could offer a future accessory that allows an iPhone and an iPad or two iPads to connect together, with one iPad as a display for the attached unit and the other as a dynamic keyboard.
People who use iPads and iPad Pro as a workstation instead of acquiring a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air often acquire a keyboard accessory, allowing them to type without using the onscreen keyboard. Using a separate accessory, like the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard, allows you to use the entire screen because you don’t have to use the software keyboard at all.
While this is useful, it does mean that an additional accessory must be carried by the user if they wish to continue working in this manner. The extra space and weight may not be desirable, especially if they’re carrying an iPhone and iPad.
In a patent issued Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office titled “Modular Multiple Display Electronics”, Apple offers a solution to this problem through a new, smaller accessory. The additional hardware would consist of sections that attach to the side of a mobile device, with a connector shape and a hinged member.
Two iPads, or an iPhone and an iPad, can connect together using the accessory.
The connector would facilitate data transfers between the two devices, allowing a range of functions to occur. In its simplest form, this could allow work to be done on multiple screens as if it were one system, in different ways.
The patent images primarily propose the idea of a laptop-style layout, with one device lying flat on one surface and the hinged connector supporting the second mobile device upward in either portrait or landscape orientation. In this way, the lower device could act as a keyboard for the upper device.
It is also suggested that if it is attached to the longer edge of two devices of the same size, it could be used in a book style orientation.
The hinge could allow two devices of similar size to function in a book-style layout.
The concept is not necessarily based on using two mobile devices of similar size, as it is possible to use a smaller screen of an iPhone as the primary display while an iPad could be the second lower device. Such an orientation would be necessary as it would be easier to type on a larger area like an iPad with both hands, as well as the weight of the device itself reducing any instability of reversing the two positions.
In addition to providing an additional worksurface, the data connection can naturally allow transfers of files and other items to be communicated between the two devices, as well as allow the sharing of resources. For example, if one device has a better camera than the other, or one better positioned for a task such as video conferencing, that resource can be shared with the other device.
The repository lists its inventors as Craig C. Leong and Blake R. Koelmel.
The accessory could include a hinge element.
Feasible to produce
Apple files numerous patent applications each week, but while the existence of a patent suggests areas of interest to Apple’s research and development teams, it does not guarantee the existence of such a product or service. in the future.
While there haven’t been any whispers of such a prop in active development yet, the concept is potentially achievable. IPhones and iPads share Lightning connectors, with the iPad Pro line using USB-C, while smart connectors are also available on some models allowing communications with accessories.
Apple has already expressed interest in using aftermarket mobile devices as alternate inputs, for example when filing “Cross-Device Interactions” in January. Second-screen devices were also the subject of certain patents, such as “Dual-display equipment with improved visibility and suppressed glare” from 2018 which featured a flexible screen used as a laptop, with a screen usable as a keyboard. .