Apple has filed a patent for a computer inside a keyboard, designed for easy transportation, not unlike the home computers popular in the 1980s.
The newly-published patent (discovered by Patently Apple) is very reminiscent of a product the Raspberry Pi Foundation released almost two years ago. The Raspberry Pi 400 is, in essence, a keyboard that also contains all of the components of a desktop computer. Just plug it into a display and a mouse, and you’re good to go.
This is what Cupertino appears to be considering for a future Mac, but in a much sleeker, Apple-style aesthetic.
The patent is titled “computer in an input device,” and the entire all-in-one computer consists of its components, including the Mac’s System-on-a-Chip (SoC), memory, storage, and so forth, all encapsulated within a Magic Keyboard-like device.
Apple describes the contents of the keyboard as a high-end computer, and says that it would be a useful way to transport a small-footprint, high-end computer without extra cabling that could plug into any display.
This would create “a portable desktop computing experience at any location having one or more computer monitors,” the patent document added. “For example, a user can transport a keyboard that houses a computer, as opposed to carrying an entire laptop or a tower and keyboard.”
The configuration could also take other forms, it said in its filing. “The computing device 100 can, for example, correspond to a virtual keyboard, a track pad or touchpad, a mouse, a tablet computer, a combination thereof, or other input devices,” the filing said. A keyboard input mechanism could use capacitive touch rather than moving keys, it added.
So, it’s possible that we could see a computer inside a keyboard from Apple at some point in the future. However, it’s important to keep in mind that tech companies often file patents that never lead to commercial products.