Renewing optimism for a touchscreen MacBook is a newly revised patent.
In an addendum to a patent published last year, Apple is keeping the possibility of a touchscreen MacBook alive.
On Patently Apple(opens in new tab), patent watchers have detected an updated claim, which provides more details about what it would need to keep an Apple Pencil in place using magnets. That Apple is updating this at all is great news for those who hope to one day see a touchscreen display on the MacBook’s screen.
It’s possible to link the Apple Pencil to the MacBook in a variety of ways, according to a patent. Using the Pencil as a dock and a replacement for the recently-discontinued Touchbar, the first option sees the functionality highlighted on the Pencil itself.
When a user touches an object with their finger, it may feel like they’re actually pressing a key — or at the very least, they’ll know that their input has been recognised.
Using the Apple Pencil’s scroll wheel, the user can zoom in, scroll, or change the size of objects. And this may be why it is sometimes portrayed docked above the touchpad – a more natural location for surrogate mouse usage.
The option is where the Apple Pencil can be mounted to the side of the chassis, either via a similar docking area…
…or seemingly mounted to the side, just how it is on the iPad Pro when not in use.
This feels less practical to me, but may appeal to Apple if the company isn’t considering bundling the Pencil with its devices. When it comes to Apple products, it’s worth noting that the business has never packaged the Apple Pencil with any of its products.
Could a touchscreen MacBook actually happen?
It’s clear that this is only a patent, and there are many others that never make it to market. However, the fact that Apple has changed it implies that this is something that is being actively considered.
It’s worth remembering that Steve Jobs was very opposed to the idea of a touchscreen Mac when he was alive. Touchscreen laptops, according to Steve Jobs, were “ergonomically poor” after “tonnes of user testing” when the iPad was introduced.
That said, it’s also worth noting that Apple Pencil was introduced four years after Jobs’ death, despite his vehement opposition to styli(opens in new tab). That reticence, however, was in reference to smartphones, not tablets like the iPad.
When it comes to u-turns, Apple originally boasted that its iPhones were smaller than their Android counterparts, which were getting larger and larger. In light of the waning demand in the company’s tiny lineup, two supersized iPhone 14 devices are supposedly arriving in September.
However, when demand is clearly evident, Apple isn’t hesitant to change its policies. While it’s unclear if this will be one of those instances, Apple’s decision to keep the patent pending shows that the company is seriously considering it.