Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been applying for patents right and left, as usual. Patently Apple spotted a series of 51 new patents which have been granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and published today. One of the patents is for what Apple describes as a whole new class of computer.

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Apple’s interest in projection dates back years

Applications for the new computer class first appeared in 2010. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been interested in projection systems over the last several years, although many of them were apparently a mystery. According to Patently Apple, one of them was for “a wild projection system” which creates a 3D interactive space, while another described a 3D holographic projection display. (Maybe this is where the wild iPhone 6 concept with the projected keyboard came from).

Apple patents projection computer

This newest patent, which was granted today, is for a sort of next-generation computer which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) calls an “entirely new category” of computer system. The artwork shows a sort of projector which places an image up on a screen along with a keyboard and mouse on a table. The idea is to create a desk-free computer so that the computer itself could be placed wherever desired. (To me, the artwork looks pretty much like a laptop with a projector hooked up to it, although of course there’s no laptop).

The description that’s in the patent really doesn’t sound like anything earth-shattering. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) basically says it’s using wireless interfaces for the input devices like the mouse and keyboard, as well as an integrated projector output. The goal is to have a system without any wires which connect the computer to input or output devices. The only wire would be used to plug the computer itself into the wall.

The patent does include inductive charging as a part of the computer system. However, Patently Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) states that Apple now focuses on magnetic resonance technology for its wireless charging.