Would you like a dock for your iPhone that turns it into a laptop? That’s one idea that Apple is exploring that keeps the iPhone at the heart of Cupertino’s mobile empire while continuing to manage the decline of macOS powered options.
Published today, the patent describes a dock for a smartphone that replicates the look and feel of a traditional laptop. As always with patents, they are not necessarily guaranteed to lead to public releases. But they do offer a look into Apple’s research labs and the avenues they are exploring.
The patent details an enclosure that looks remarkably like the MacBook placeholder in previous submissions to the USPTO. Your iPhone would slot into the equivalent space of the trackpad and connect through the lightning port. The iPhone would drive the experience, interfacing with the keyboard and touchscreen in the unit, which potentially could have a secondary battery or processing power.
As with many ideas in the mobile world, this is not a new principle. HP provided a laptop-style dock for its Elite x3 Windows 10 powered smartphone leveraging Continuum. The Continuum system on Windows 10 handsets allows a smartphone to drive a desktop-like setup of keyboard, mouse and monitor and would allow any manufacturer to easily put together a dock. Go back further and you’ll find devices like the Motorola’s Lapdock from 2011.
if you’re looking for a device with extra battery power and increased graphical processing in a keyboard-focused base, have a look at the Surface Book - even though that’s more ‘tablet plus keyboard and screen’ rather than this ‘iPhone plus keyboard and screen’ design.
No doubt the dock’s screen would scale up iOS from a phone UI to a tablet UI, with the user interface reacting much like the larger screened iPad Pro tablets when fitted with the smart keyboard cover. From a UI point of view much of the hard work has already been done in iOS.
More importantly to me it suggests where Apple sees its future of mobile computing. Apple is showing less and less love for the MacBook range as the months go buy. From little more than a specifications increase in October 2016 to updating all of its mobile hardware this week but ignoring the MacBook, Tim Cook and his team are giving every indication that it is managing macOS quietly into obscurity and focusing all its efforts on iOS powered devices.
Because once you have a MacBook-like doc for the iPhone, once you have all the apps you need to create a laptop like environment, why would you continue developing and promoting macOS on your MacBooks? The dock patent shows a future where iOS is in the lead in terms of mobile devices.
Presumably the macOS devices will remain available in smaller numbers (primarily for developers needing Xcode) but this is one more indicator pointing towards an iOS focused future with the iPhone at the heart of everything and the heady days of the macBook fading into the history books.
Article Source: Apple's Predictable iPhone Mission To Replace The MacBook