Apple granted patent for telephonic MacBook with rotatable display

“Apple has received a Granted Patent that relates to a MacBook that could utilize a unique Clutch Barrel antenna structure,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“The design hold two interesting features,” Purcher reports. “The first is that the clutch barrel antenna structure could carry 3G capabilities allowing a MacBook to offer telephonic services. The Telephonic MacBook was thought to be first introduced last August, but we now see with this newly granted patent, that this project may have started as early as 2008. Since that time, Apple has been aggressively filing patent applications throughout 2010 and 2011 (one, two, three and four). It’s a forming trend that is certainly illustrating that Apple’s industrial design team, lead by Jony Ive, is trying different approaches in creating the perfect Telephonic MacBook.”

Purcher reports, “The second attribute of today’s invention is that a hinge structure would allow a MacBook to ‘rotate relative to the base of the laptop computer.’ This is very much like the second or third generation Ultrabook design spec that will allow an Ultrabook to transform into a tablet for simple reading, surfing and/or scribbling with a Smart Pen.”

More in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.


  1. I’ve never felt the need to go 3G with my MacBook Pro. At a pinch I’d create a hotspot with my iPhone and pair it with the MBP but most of the time I’m on WiFi so this question doesn’t arise.

    As for bending the lid of a MBA backwards on itself to create a tablet, just buy a detachable Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad.

    These are not problems looking for a solution.

    1. The only thing I can say about rotating lid solution is that the iPad is no MacBook Pro. It’s good for what it does, but does not approach the power, storage, and broad utility of a MacBook Pro. There are indeed people that still want a powerful portable, and the ability to use it as a flat, touch capable tablet is a great design addition. I wouldn’t poo-poo it.

  2. I have allways liked the design and function of my Toshiba Tablet. It was ahead of its time. I still use it but with soldered ram and no hope to go beyond XP, its future is limited. A tablet function on the Macbook could serve a purpise. There is plenty a tablet can do without overlaping the IPad. Now the phone? Not so much. Unless… you coluld figure out a way to make it function as an extension for the IPhone. Better let that one cook for a while. Who knows with the way technology is leaping, all these ideas may be moot before the end of next year.

  3. I disagree. If the Macbook was super thin (think Air), having a swivel lid would be the best of both worlds. Built in keyboard that would give you maximum screen real estate coupled with a lightweight tablet sans keyboard for reading and work appropriate to a tablet. If the iOS and Lion software could be merged so that the user had one base of applications, documents, etc. with the advantages of either a laptop or a tablet, count me in. If the tablet requires a pen…no problem.

  4. Forget the swivel! It would be marvelous to have the same sort of 3G (or 4G) option available for the MB Air and/or the MB Pro to have connectivity almost anywhere and not having to hunt down open wifi access. I could just go to the park to enjoy nature and when that got old, log on!

  5. I think the telephonic macbook could be like the iPad where it’s really about data and not voice so that the cost is lower. I think that would be a a must for a MB Air + iPad combo. I would absolutely LOVE it. I’m eyeing an Ultrabook for work but I’d gladly go with a MB Air iPad unit, any day. I just have to have the choice.

  6. Really like the idea of an iPad/Air combination in one device.

    Fold screen over to get an ipad. Fold it back to get an air.

    The hinge mechanism would have to very special though to get this kinda device right. So would keyboard design.

    I’d buy one if it was though.

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