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Apple notebooks to have iMac-like docking station?

updated 11:00 am EST, Thu January 3, 2008

iMac-like notebook dock

An Apple patent application, disclosed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, may point to a radically new notebook docking station. The submission is entitled Integrated monitor and docking station, and depicts a device that solves two problems of current docks, namely the space and lack of convenient transport posed by having to hook up separate dock, notebook and display components. The Apple invention is essentially a "hollowed-out" iMac, into which users insert a MacBook completely from a side-facing opening.

Doing so lets users continue to access critical ports on the side of a MacBook, such as the optical drive. In turn, the Apple dock extends options with not just a larger display, but also battery charging, extra ports, liquid cooling and a "telephonic handset." The dock further substitutes for inaccessible notebook features such as the iSight webcam and a memory card reader.

The timing of the patent's revelation may suggest that Apple plans to showcase the dock as this month's Macworld expo, where it is widely accepted that the company will already be presenting a new subnotebook system. Whether a dock would be exclusively designed for the subnotebook is not hinted at in the patent submission's diagrams.






by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    DuoDock, Part 2!

    Everything old is new again...

    Now, can we please get a new Newton? :)

  1. Sondjata

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    problem

    This would have to be for some new unannounced product because I don't see how I can have access to all my ports AND have the laptop plugged in. Is this to be expresscard based?

  1. Smurfman

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    LCD screen

    It appears that the dock includes the screen, but what if the actual MacBook screen was the dock screen? It seems an expensive waste to have a dock include a LCD screen built-in when the "laptop" screen is perfectly usable. I understand the need for a larger screen (especially with a sub notebook) but for a normal MacBook or MacBook Pro, a dock is all that seems necessary.

    Since the sub-notebook seems like a definite show, I guess the dock will include a built-in screen.

    However, if this dock is going to be available for all laptop models, it would be common sense for Apple to make a dock where the device/laptop would provide the screen, therefore, alluding to either a swivel screen with multi-touch or the entire machine being just the screen minus the keyboard, again, using multi-touch.

    Hmmm....

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    swivel screen

    Maybe it would have a swivel screen and touch screen as well.

  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    iMac duo

    This is going to nicely straddle the midrange points in both Apple's desktop and their laptop product lines. I can't wait!

  1. JimiMac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    iPhone port

    It would seem to make more sense to make an iMac that has a similar iPhone/iTouch port...just pop in your iPhone and look at your content on the bigger screen, plus use the phone features of the iPhone on your bigger screen iMac! Turns your iMac into a giant screened iPhone!

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    look

    It has the ports on the back of the screen/dock station, so the optical drive sticks out of the Laptop when inside the dock, the ports are on the back of the dock like a regular imac, has a isight, and for it to be useful for me it better have a second monitor out in the back like current iMacs.

    I can't see any current laptop working with this because there is no place for it to plug in right now, I suspect this will be a few the new laptop (but I also suspect the new laptop wont have a optical drive and the dock will) and future laptops from apple will also be able to make use of the docking station. This kinda forces every one with even a new laptop to get another one later on to use it.

  1. bloggerblog

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    x

    some of the main features in the original Duo-Dock is the ability to add standard RAM, PCI cards, and processing power. This one seems to have no slots for PCI cards or a place for additional RAM. It would've also been nice to be able to add a second processor when the notebook is docked, allowing it to function as dual.

    I guess that would've made too much sense.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: look

    It has the ports on the back of the screen/dock station, so the optical drive sticks out of the Laptop when inside the dock, the ports are on the back of the dock like a regular imac, has a isight, and for it to be useful for me it better have a second monitor out in the back like current iMacs.

    Actually it ends wasting more than it saves. All mac laptops have iSights and monitors and that. Why should I need another iSight? And why would I need to get a second monitor when the laptop already has a screen? Most normal docks can let you use your built-in screen and hook to another monitor as well.

    Or is cost not a factor?

  1. JTh

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    it makes perfect sense

    The current Macbook has ports only on the left. Slide it in from the right behind an LCD screen, the ports line up internally (USB, power, video, audio, network) and you're set.

    I thought there was already a 3rd-party solution that connects on the side and acts like a "docking station", so I wonder if Apple's just taking it a step further. If so, I might be first in line to get something like this.

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