Microsoft’s window of opportunity to push dual-screen devices to the mainstream market may have now passed. Even disregarding the Android-based Surface Duo and its cancelled Surface Neo, the manufacturers like ASUS and Lenovo that flaunted such futuristic computers have largely gone silent thereon matter. However, it isn’t just PC makers who have had thoughts on dual-screen computers, and Apple’s newly-awarded MacBook patent shows the chances of such a tool, presuming they ever got built and sold.
Unlike a foldable phone or tablet, a dual-screen laptop offers some benefits that fit better thereupon form factor, not to mention a more reliable and durable design. Of course, market watchers and tech pundits might already be conversant in a number of the Microsoft Surface Neo ideas and, therefore, the ASUS Project Precog concept presented. Still, tons of these revolved around extending the Windows desktop to 2 screens. On the opposite hand, Apple’s patent is both simpler and more advanced, treating the second display as a fanatical input area.
Filed three years ago but awarded only now, the patent shows the second screen as a neighbourhood for virtual keyboards, touchpads, gesture controls, and other input methods. It doesn’t show that screen acting as an extension of most displays, but it might be possible if Apple allowed it. However, the likelihood is that the corporate would prefer to err on the side of simplicity instead.
What makes the patent unique is that the amount of flexibility it offers. Additionally to keyboard layouts, a virtual display would allow users to switch to a more “ergonomic” keyboard design or place the touchpad in any position they like. It can also be used for other inputs, like controllers for a game or common touch gestures. Interestingly, there are even some provisions for adding peripherals on top, almost like the Microsoft Surface Dial, or having biometrics like Touch ID with a separate top plate”.
Of course, patents don’t immediately mean a future product, and Apple’s seeming aversion to putting touch screens on MacBooks further lowers the likelihood of such a tool being commercialized. Still, it’s interesting to ascertain the chances of such a dual-screen laptop, which could are the Surface Neo’s future if it got made.