Apple recently secured a patent for a new iPad design from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) detailing designs that feature a unique form factor for an iPad with a built-in stand to prop the device up. This special device could include a projected keyboard as well.
Like with all patent claims, Apple has laid claim to every possible embodiment of the new design. This is the third patent Apple has won for this invention, and it adds 19 new patent claims. Apple’s patent describes a computing device that resembles an iPad but has one key difference. The display is surrounded by a peripheral housing that can pivot out to stand it up on its side. The patent claims that all the computational hardware, including batteries, processors, and memory, are entirely within this peripheral housing.
Think of it as Apple’s version of a two-in-one laptop, sans the keyboard. Some variations also remind us of the in-car DVD players that gained popularity in the early 2000s. The patent lays claim to include hardware that allows two or more such iPad-like devices to communicate with each other via electromagnetic waves or wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ultra-Wideband, etc.
As illustrated in the drawing above, the patent described the keyboard in Figure 14B as a “projected image.” It claims that the keyboard would detect gestures such as swipe, pinch, finger movements, and more using a built-in capacitive touch sensor. All other input devices can be removed and attached to the peripheral housing.
Another embodiment of the iPad’s peripheral housing describes one or more portions that can be detached to bolster the lower edge of the display. In contrast, another image shows the Apple Pencil nestled in the housing. A different variation of this design details a fold-out flexible keyboard that would replace the aforementioned projected keyboard. This could retract or be rolled up and contained in the peripheral housing itself.
Lastly, Apple describes the display as becoming a full mirror with support for Face ID. This embodiment also suggests that the mirror-like fold-out screen would display user-configurable content such as signal strength, weather data, and battery level on top of the mirror, just like some smart mirrors for sale today.[Via Patently Apple]