An Apple Patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has revealed the companies possible future plans. Showing what it calls a “Electronic Accessory Device,” could this be one of many ideas the company has for the iPhone and iPad? Apparently, so, and according to the images and information, it looks as though these two devices will remain at the heart of Apple’s plans for some time.

apple patent future iphone
Source: USPTO

Apple Patent Re-Imagines The Future iPhone and iPad

As for what this possible future has in store for both of the devices, it’s clear to see that a laptop style accessory was an idea. This accessory would act as a host for either device, with the computational power provided by the iPhone or iPad. Additionally, some of the Apple Patent images show them acting as a touchpad or touchscreen too.

iPhone TrackPad

As for the future iPhone concept, it’s seen in the image above acting as a device which connects directly into what looks like a MacBook. This laptop style accessory would be nothing more than a display and a keyboard resembling the familiar form factor. However, there’s no storage, CPU, or GPU; instead, all of these important features are provided by the iPhone. Without which the accessory would be nothing more than a dumb terminal.

Additionally, however, due to the placement of the iPhone, the Apple Patent also envisions the handset acting as a trackpad. Will this future vision ever see the light of day? Who knows, as it’s quite possible this was a dead end by the Cupertino-based outfit and work has discontinued.

apple patent future ipad
Source: USPTO

iPad Touchscreen

Next up, on this Apple Patent, there’s a future iPad function. It too could be used with a laptop style accessory, lending its touchscreen as the display. Seeing as there are already keyboard cases available for the iPad, this isn’t too far-fetched an idea. Apple has talked about how it sees a future where the lines become blurred between laptops and tablet form factors. However, like the iPhone above, in this scenario, the iPad also would supply the brains, storage, and the graphical brawn.

What’s clear about the future of the iPad and this laptop style accessory is it’s a concept which has variations. Some show an accessory that’s nothing more than a keyboard and trackpad, waiting for the iPad to plug the gaps. While another has the accessory offering a little more in the form of its own internal GPU. This important internal component would aid the iPad in rendering power hungry graphics.

Would such an iPad accessory make it to market? Possibly not, the company’s current position seems to be placing the iPad as a replacement for laptops. However, the fact that this Apple Patent exists means it may have at some point it considered this an option. What we do know, however, is that this future iPad vision would certainly blur the lines between both form factors.

Final Thoughts

Have the above Apple Patent ideas been shelved? It’s possible, the company for the moment could be content with the lines being clearly drawn between its iOS and MacOS devices. The reasoning behind this could be due to the way in which its customers consume its products. After all, upgrades to iPhones and iPads are much faster than say with a MacBook. A such, making a Mac user consider using his/her iPhone or iPad to power a future laptop style device may take longer than is financially worthwhile.