New Apple docking patent app shows portable sliding into side of display, iMac

An Apple patent application (20080002350) for “Integrated monitor and docking station” published today shows an Apple portable (looks like an ultra-thin, ultra-light one – hint, hint) sliding into an Apple monitor (or iMac-type computer).

MacDailyNews Note: This patent was filed quite some time ago: on July 3, 2006 and just published today.

Apple’s Abstract:
A docking station is disclosed. The docking station includes a display and a housing configured to hold the display in a manner that exposes a viewing surface of the display to view. The housing defines a docking area configured to receive a portable computer; The docking area is at least partly obscured by the display when viewed from the viewing surface side of the display at an angle substantially orthogonal to the viewing surface.

Apple’s description:
Traditionally a portable computer docking station requires a separate external monitor to be connected (e.g., by cable) to the docking station when a display other than the integrated display of the portable computer is desired to be used with the docking station. Often a significant amount of desk space is required for placement of this docking station and separate display. Attempts have been made to conserve the required amount of desk space by allowing the external display to be stacked on top of the docking station. However, the stacked combination still occupies a large amount of space and is cumbersome to move and transport. Therefore there exists a need for a docking station and display combination that is configured in a more efficient form.

The full patent app is here.

Gizmodo has a nice image of how this might really look here.

[Attribution: Gizmodo. Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Davey” and “Linux Guy And Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Aren’t we (long over)due for a new monitor lineup right about now? And an ultra-portable, too? Do you think this is something Apple might actually be pursuing or is it just a ruse intended to throw competition off-track?

75 Comments

  1. So, now: this looks very INNOVATIVE and REVOLUTIONNARY! This is a genius idea and has never been done this way before! More than enough reasons to have Apple bringing out this thing quite soon!!!

  2. I have no personal knowledge of such things, but — are U.S. Patent applications normally hand-drawn, complete with cute little Apple logos in place? Aren’t real patent applications more conceptual and purposefully not made to look exacdtly like current products, right down to the shape of the base? Suspicious at best..

  3. This is docking done right. I have used a few docking stations for work and they are in the way. Turning an ultra-portable into an “iMac” is a great way to be able to simply use it as a computer without a million wires coming out of the dock.

    iMac sold separately™

  4. Looks unlikely as an Apple product. An ultraportable would have a max of about 13″ diagonal measurement. Anything larger defeats the purpose. Apple wouldn’t waste the desk space for something less than half the viewing area of their smallest current desktop offering.

    They had another patent awhile back using a base with a magnetic coupling to charge a portable device in sort of a cradle. If this device were also a hub and the location of a large hard drive and a superdrive, I think it is the more likely configuration of an Apple docking station.

    This patent is clearly meant to give design direction to Dell and HP.

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