Will the Next MacBook Air Convert to an iPad?


There is a lot of talk about one of Apple’s new patents which describes a method, “…for Transitioning Between Mouse-Based and Touch Interfaces.” What this means is that they are trying to patent a method that allows a mouse based system (an iMac with a mouse) to transition to a touch based system using a touch screen, akin to an iPad/iPhone interface. This sounds like a really cool feature on an iMac and MacBook, but the it seems that the real intent is to run Mac OSX and iOS on the same device.

Imagine for a moment that you’re using your MacBook for work to edit a document, when you get home you flip the keyboard around a la tablet and by performing this motion the MacBook switches to iOS. You now use your MacBook iPad to view movies on Netflix, browse the web and play your favorite video games without the bulk. Now that would be a killer laptop.


Of course for this to be as portable as an iPad it would have to be a variant of the MacBook Air with a little iPad in it, which is doable. iOS could run as a VM, but that would require Mac OS to boot. Apple could run it off a separate chip so that it can turn on instantly just like the iPad. Using a device like this can help you overcome the iPad’s lack of easy productivity (try writing a book on an iPad) and get excellent battery life with instant on operation. The problem with a device like this is price, can Apple offer a $999 MacBook iPad? What do you think? Would you buy a device like this if Apple manufactured it?

All images and patent information via PatentlyApple.com