The current MacBook Pro has a main display and a Touch Bar, but it seems that Apple probably wants to add three more screens to create a laptop with five crazy screens.
According to MyFixGuide, the Chinese national intellectual property office approved the patent today, June 30th. It is another patent that suggests what Apple could do with all the empty space on its laptops surrounding the keyboard and trackpad, this time suggesting the use of a “Dynamic Display Interface” that transforms these empty areas into several small screens.
Based on the patent illustrations, these displays take on roles similar to how Apple attempts to use the Touch Bar on its current MacBooks – by moving the toolbars from the main display and close to the user̵
The trackpad appears to be embedded below the top surface of the laptop, as there is no obvious sign, at least compared to the slightly sunken trackpad of today’s MacBooks. To compensate for this, the patent also describes how tactile feedback could be added to the trackpad. This would allow the user to know if they have moved away from the boundaries of the trackpad, as well as providing them with a better perception of how they interact with objects on the screen.
The keys themselves can also be backlit according to this patent, since the illuminating surface also surrounds them. While the backlit keys may make you think of flashy RGB lighting on player-oriented peripherals, this may have more practical use. Think about how the lights could help guide your fingers to specific groups of shortcuts or the row of home keys (as shown in the patent) to help you type more efficiently.
We have seen some ideas on how this could work from other laptop manufacturers. ZenBook Pro Duo from Asus has a secondary display above its keyboard, while Microsoft has the upcoming Surface Neo that does everything and has a virtual keyboard on a second identical display. Users who wish to completely abandon physical keyboards in the next year or two are highly unlikely, so Apple’s patent seems like a more sensible intermediate step.
While we wait for Apple to turn this patent into a real product (if it does), we have other progress to consider. As was recently announced to During WWDC 2020, MacBooks will receive the latest version of MacOS, called Big Sur. The new operating system offers new menu designs, widgets for commonly used features and updates to first-hand apps like Messages and Safari.
The next MacBooks will also present Apple Silicon, the first Apple processors designed from scratch using ARM, instead of the Intel chipsets it has been using for years. And the first ARM-based Mac will be released this year.