It is known that Apple is skeptical of bendable mobile devices of our days, but does not mind the idea of such devices – they need to be done somehow differently. And in one of the 49 patents granted to the company by the American Bureau of Patents and Trademarks on March 10, this “otherwise” is presented to the public. No less interesting is another patent of these 49, which is about something similar to the Touch Bar, but combined with a trackpad. The other 47 patents are also quite interesting, but these two are literally fascinating.
Two patents, with numbers 10 585 494 and 10 585 708 – not the first Apple patents on these topics. Apple spares neither time nor money to carefully work out the ideas they liked, paying close attention to the most unnecessary details and problems until the moment when something incredibly holistic, understandable, bright and convenient begins to turn out. The most important of the results of this self-torture is made out as an invention and a patent application is filed for it.
No one has ever admitted this yet, but it is almost obvious: in these applications, in addition to what is required to protect from colleagues, there is a considerable share of information noise to distract their attention. In patents on the same topics, with numbers 10 551 876 (about Touch Bar) and 10 551 880 (about bendable devices) information noise is presented in full. In the new, as it seemed to me, this is not. Are they not going to, in the near future, use these finds in real devices? Suddenly, the 2020 mini-LED iPad Pro and iPhone 12 will be just that? Suddenly, a crazy Touch Bar in very unexpected, but not objectionable places, will appear this year?
iPhone with a flexible screen
Are you sure that the ability of a device to bend a precision-made and incredibly vulnerable body, with brittle, in spite of any efforts,”nerves” connecting parts of the device on both sides of the bending line is the main sign of trendy “bendable” devices? Was it all up to this? No, the meaning of the “bendable” device is different: that depending on the situation, the device either becomes compact and fits in your pocket while continuing to work, or vice versa, to provide the user with an uncompromisingly large screen space and the maximum of possible amenities.
And Apple really has an idea how to achieve this without the rapid self-destruction of a smartphone or tablet. Do not bend something that should not break quickly. It’s funny, and in the title of patent number 10 585 708 the word “bendable” is not. It sounds like this: “A system of several electronic devices”.
The system consists of several devices (in the patent there is a hint that these devices are iPads), which, being at a short distance from each other, are able to “see” each other and interact with each other. Having turned into a single whole, their screens become a common screen, touch (and clicks) processes the entire complex, which actually turns into a single device.
This is a managed and customizable connection. Devices can be divided into two independent (but held together by magnets) devices, again turned into a single whole. The merger will be available for the iPad and several (as written in the appendix to the patent) iPhone, of course, the following models. Nothing is impossible, this is the 21st century! The chronically weak point of modern bendable devices is the inflection line. Its weakest place is wires and connections.
But in a world where ultra-high-speed transmission of data over short distances has long ceased to be a problem (remember IEEE 802.11ay, for example), why invent wires from some fantastically resistant materials (for crazy money) that can withstand tens or hundreds of thousands of bends and extensions, if can you do without them at all?
New Touch Bar on MacBook
It is practical or not – I can’t say anything. This must be tried. The most amazing thing is that I really want to try it. The invention consists of two parts. The first of them is a trackpad combined with a display. The specific functions of this display may be completely different. Some of the assumptions of the engineers who developed it are shown in the illustrations above and below. The second part – what can be a common medium for the trackpad and the built-in “Touch Bar X”.
In laptops, the trackpad, along with its intellectual content, is most reasonable to place in the usual place for it. On the external keyboard, this control can be placed in different ways, but there are only two convenient places for this: in the middle of the palm rest or to the right of the keys. The latter option is more convenient, though exclusively for right-handed people. Another Touch Bar, for almost all Macs, programmable – and not forcing the user to give up their favorite habits. If you can use the trackpad as a trackpad, it would be very good.