Apple considering dual-display MacBook with built-in wireless iPhone charger

Macbook Air M1
Macbook Air M1 (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Apple has patented a way to charge your iPhone using your MacBook.
  • A new patent reveals the technology alongside a touchscreen MacBook.
  • It also includes tech for finger sensing that could be used to draw and select things using touch-sensitive keys.

A newly-published Apple patent today reveals the company is considering a MacBook that can wirelessly charge your iPhone and accept touch inputs.

The 'device having integrated interface system' patent states:

A portable computer includes a display portion comprising a display and a base portion pivotally coupled to the display portion. The base portion may include a bottom case and a top case, formed from a dielectric material, coupled to the bottom case. The top case may include a top member defining a top surface of the base portion and a sidewall integrally formed with the top member and defining a side surface of the base portion. The portable computer may also include a sensing system including a first sensing system configured to determine a location of a touch input applied to the top surface of the base portion and a second sensing system configured to determine a force of the touch input.

Screenshot 2022 06 21

Screenshot 2022 06 21 (Image credit: USPTO)

The patent details a MacBook with its base portion " comprising a wireless power transfer system configured to inductively couple with the portable electronic device to receive power from the portable electronic device through the planar top exterior surface of the base portion and to transmit power to the portable electronic device through the planar top exterior surface of the base portion", essentially the wireless charging of a device like Apple's best iPhone, the iPhone 13.

The patent also reveals technology that can be used to make your keyboard touch-sensitive so as to accept inputs almost like a touch screen or a dual-display laptop that displays an image of a keyboard for use in typing input:

The display may be a first display, and the portable computer may further include a second display within the base portion and viewable through the top case. The second display may be configured to display an image of a keyboard in a keyboard region of the top case. The image of the keyboard may include an image of a key, and the second sensing system may be configured to register a key input in response to detecting an input applied to the key and having a force exceeding a force threshold.

The bottom portion of the Mac not only includes this display but could also include accelerometers, and even biometric sensors for taking your fingerprint for security, blood oxygen, blood sugar, eye-tracking, retinal scanning, and more.

Apple's patent also makes provisions for displays using both LCDs, LEDs, and OLED display technology, something we've heard rumored for future MacBooks in 2024.

This mammoth retinue of upgrades may prove to be a pipe dream as patents often do, but it could also indicate the direction Apple is hoping to take its best MacBooks of the future in. The company recently unveiled its new M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro (2022), the latter of which will be released this week.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9