The ideas in the patents don’t always end up being real products, but they can give us an interesting idea of what technology companies can work on – and it would seem that Apple is developing a Mac that fits on a keyboard.
The idea is that you can take this keyboard with you when you move between home and office (or where you need a computer), connect it to the display and download macOS. It’s kind of a Mac miniin the form of a keyboard.
Obviously, packing everything inside the keyboard means there will be limitations in terms of performance, local storage and so on. But for simple everyday computing tasks it will probably work fine. After all, a smartphone has a lot of power.
The patent suggests that the keyboard can be made of materials specifically designed to dissipate heat from internal components. Definitely there has to be some clever airflow control when electronics are so tightly packed together.
The patent application also mentions a trackpad built into the keyboard that will save you from connecting the mouse. We’ll have to wait and see if this is one of those patents that will eventually become a ready-made consumer device.
Analysis: The benefits of tiny computers
Computers built into the keyboard, of course nothing newas anyone who remembers owning a Sinclair ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 knows. The modern twist is that these keyboards can be made thinner and lighter than ever before.
This improves mobility, so instead of finding room for a laptop in your bag, you need to find a place for your keyboard – a trade-off that there is no built-in display. You still need to find a monitor or TV when you get wherever you are going.
Like the Mac mini and countless others tiny computers as shown, such compact devices have great potential that you can take with you anywhere: from room to room, from office to office, or anywhere. All your files and programs move with you.
Apple is already making its own keyboards, although the Magic Keyboard may need extra volume to fit inside the computer. It is sure to appeal to many users, even if it will only be able to perform basic tasks such as email or browsing the web.