Apple has redesigned its MacBook Pro series multiple times since its original release, but recent patents filed by the tech giant could indicate where the future of the fan-favorite portable workstation is headed.
As reported by Apple Insider (opens in a new tab), this latest batch of patents contains designs for a MacBook Pro that you can wirelessly charge your iPhone on, as well as an innovative "extended touch bar" that extends to each side of the keyboard.
It also references older patents (opens in a new tab) in which Apple discusses modifying the entire surface of a MacBook so that it can be used to not only prevent dust and debris buildup, but also discusses the use of space as additional space. space. touch control function, which allows users to control virtually the entire surface.
"The proposals described here generally relate to electronic devices that have an enclosure formed at least partially from a transparent dielectric material such as plastic, glass, or ceramic material," Apple says. "Transparent dielectric material can form a seamless or continuous input surface that can enhance device appearance without the drawbacks of some traditional device constructions."
Image from Apple's design patent showing an illustration of a MacBook Pro laptop with a built-in wireless iPhone charger. (Image credit: Apple)
One of the suggested uses for this technology is the inclusion of an integrated wireless charging pad, as shown in a provided mockup of the approved patent. It's not a world apart from MagSafe charging, so it's not hard to assume that it could actually make its way to devices in the next few years.
Apple has even taken into account that it could be tedious to type on the keyboard and avoid placing a phone next to it when making plans to improve its palm detection technology, including "The force detection system can be configured to determine if the palm of a user's hand rests in the trackpad region” in the patent filing.
This technology, in turn, could also be adapted to a graphics tablet-style surface that allows users to use the entire palm rest and even the keyboard for full touch cursor control, stating that "In some cases...in the interface you can also use to detect multi-touch gestures and inputs applied to keys on a mechanical keyboard, allowing the keys and keyboard region to function as a trackpad.
An image from Apple's design patent showing an illustration of a MacBook Pro laptop with a massive touchpad. (Image credit: Apple)
This raises questions about the real usefulness of such a large workspace; after all, graphic designers and other professionals who regularly use a monitor or graphics tablet would always be better off using more dedicated hardware, and this feature might be too "out of place." so that most MacBook Pro users will benefit from it.
Analysis: Approval doesn't mean it will actually happen
The thing is, Apple files a lot of patents every year, and while many of them are approved, it's rare that we see the designs and ideas they contain in real-world designs. In 2019, 9to5Mac (opens in a new tab) reported that Apple had over 2000 patents approved in the previous year, and it's pretty safe to say that we haven't seen 2000 innovative features implemented in the granary wallet.
Apple does this because it wants to explore new areas of technology, and if it thinks the feature will be useful, filing a patent will protect its intellectual property. You may not agree with this, but the fruit brand isn't the only major company to have this practice.
Apple also has a mixed history with laptop innovations: MacBook Pro users either loved or hated the controversial Touch Bar, and the decision to remove ports like the SD card reader and HDMI was so unpopular that they took a throwback to 2021. M1 -Models powered by silicon.
The built-in phone charger is nice, but we'll likely never see one on the production line. Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing wireless phone chargers on the market, so it's not something we need Apple to integrate into its own ecosystem, but for those who are willing to, cross their fingers: this might turn up in our favorite. Mac products for years to come.