A new patent from Apple shows that the company is investigating a future product that could potentially connect two iPads or iPhones as one workstation or notebook. The draft images show a Microsoft Neo-like form factor using two iPads as a book and another form factor using one of the iPads as a keyboard while the other as a display.
The patent, entitled ‘Modular multiple display electronic devices’, shows a small folding device that can be connected to both iPads and iPhones via a connector. This device enables connectivity between both iOS devices, allowing them to seamlessly transfer data between each other and work as one device. The patent describes various use cases, including the use of an iPad or iPhone as a keyboard with a Touch Bar.
The hinge itself has been shown to work at many angles. This should make it possible to support different form factors, such as a notebook-like arrangement or just iPads book style side by side. Whether it works between iPhone and iPad so you could use one as a keyboard is unclear, but that would be an interesting use case and something we see being used often. The iPhone may need a smart connector for this feature implementation.
Microsoft has already announced a product called Neo, which would have two screens side by side in the ‘book’ form factor. The displays also work as a whole, but also support a notebook factor in which one of the displays can become a combination of keyboard and trackpad. The project is reported to have been delayed until 2021.
This is not the first patent Apple has filed for this technology. The company had previously filed for a patent entitled ‘Cross Device Interactions’, which went into detail about how two devices could work as one when they are close to each other. This new patent appears to be closely related to the older one.
Since this is just a patent application, chances are this feature may never see the light of day. Apple often files patents for hardware and software functions, but never ships them in actual consumer products.
through Apple Insider