is apple developing a modular macbook with a turntable & removable touchscreens?

is apple developing a modular macbook with a turntable & removable touchscreens?

Apple files patent for ‘modularized computing and input devices’


On July 25th, 2023, Apple’s filed patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on ‘modularized computing and input devices’ was publicized with a series of images showing a laptop with several detachable parts, including two wide touchscreens and input devices such as keyboards and a turntable (perhaps Jony Ive’s special edition?). Based on the document, the company might have filed a provisional application dated July 30th, 2020, with an original filing on June 25th, 2021.


While Apple has not yet commented on the published patent, it gives the impression that a future Macbook would be reconfigurable, equipped with several removable and attachable laptop parts, and might be thicker than its recent ultra-thin Macbook given the number of parts that would be included in the final product.


This is due to the set of images uploaded in the filed patent, which seems to be composed of two removable OLED or LED display screens – potentially three – that can help turn the laptop into a desktop, a detachable keyboard, a multipurpose hinge, and even a system where the user could attach a turntable and the modular laptop would automatically detect the input device and make it work in its system. The authors of the filed patent write that the modular Macbook – or perhaps there would be a new name for the series – would consist of a computing device that can be reconfigurable to include one or more electrical devices in various configurations.

apple modular macbook patent
drawings by Apple authors Paul X. Wang, Keith J. Hendren, Nicholas L. Qu, Dinesh C. Mathew, and Adam T. Garelli



Modular macbook with one or more moveable touchscreens


If the filed patent came true, Apple would unveil a modular Macbook that could have an ultra-wide screen given that one of the two wide touchscreens can be folded down, concealed, or removed to make way for the keyboard and extend the screen display there. As seen in one of the sketches, a user is trying to zoom in on something from the screen display that has replaced the position of the keyboard. This might entail a vertical screen extension, which may make the modular Macbook even bigger than its currently available 16-inch screen display.


Whether or not these two wide touchscreens can beat Apple’s 24-inch iMac may still depend on the company, but should it trek this path, an issue that can concern the user is its weight since it might become less portable. The modular Macbook would be made possible thanks to Apple’s rotatable hinge system attached at the base of the laptop. Whereas the current Macbooks appear uniform, the modular version might have a hinge that not only carries the two wide touchscreens and keyboard but also doubles as a stand for the display screens should the user decide to turn the laptop into a desktop.


On top of this reconfigurable setting, it looks like Apple might plan to create an ultra-slim foldable and detachable keyboard that can replace the regular-sized one. This may be ideal for artists and creatives who use Apple products for drawings and sketches since the keyboard would only take up half the space of the regular one, meaning the user can use one of the display touchscreens at the bottom of the half-sized keyboard.

apple modular macbook patent
the modular Macbook patent might have two wide touchscreens and removable keyboard



AN APPLE macbook FEATURING A turntable?


In the filed patent, Apple’s authors – led by Paul X. Wang, Keith J. Hendren, Nicholas L. Qu, Dinesh C. Mathew, and Adam T. Garelli – describe the turntable on top of a display touchscreen as an ‘input device.’ It seems that the modular Macbook would be the base for a turntable, perhaps provided by the user themselves or can be bought from Apple as a separate device, where the user can connect the turntable to the laptop either by cable or wirelessly. Based on the authors’ description, Apple may be developing a system that could detect a turntable once it is placed on top of the display screen at the bottom.


Apple sees this feature as favorable for music producers, DJs, and/or audio engineers who, instead of working on a separate screen while producing or refining their music, can simply work at one station. The user could also attach a second screen display – although not shown or provided in the filed patent yet mentioned by the authors – to expand the viewing settings of the user. ‘Thus, the computing device can be reconfigurable or modular to efficiently accommodate users in various operational applications (e.g., music productions, sketching, document preparation, online shopping, video conferencing, and so on),’ the filed patent states.

apple modular macbook patent
the user could also place their turntable on top of the second screen for music playing and making

apple modular macbook patent
Apple’s potential modular Macbook patent can also be keyboard-less


is Apple developing a modular Macbook with two wide touchscreens and attachable turntable?

apple modular macbook patent
there would be a hinge system that doubles as a stand for one of the two wide touchscreens

apple modular macbook patent
Apple’s potential modular Macbook patent with two touchscreens



project info:


name: Modularized computing and input devices

company: Apple

type: Patent

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