With the switch to Arm from Intel, Apple is ushering in big changes for its Macs, but new silicon might not be the only update. A newly approved patent shows a MacBook Pro sporting a massive six screens, including the main display and Touch Bar.
Discovered by MyFixGuide, the patent was approved by the China National Intellectual Property Office yesterday. It describes a “Dynamic Display Interface” laptop that packs the empty areas of the keyboard section with small displays.
We can see in one of the illustrations how the different displays can be used for specific purposes depending on what program is running. In the example showing the image editor, the screens are used for zooming, altering levels, the slider, and accessing different tools. We also see a word processor that uses the extra displays for document summaries and system buttons.
The patent images seem to lack a trackpad, which could suggest the area between the bottom displays is used for this purpose. A previous Apple patent describes a MacBook with a touch surface that can be moved and resized. It also utilizes haptic feedback, which is mentioned in the new patent, so users know the trackpad’s boundaries.
The patent also describes backlight keys. While this is nothing new, the surface surrounding the keys can also be illuminated. These could be used to highlight certain sets of keys, possibly as a way of improving typing speeds.
We’ve seen laptops with secondary screens before. In addition to Asus’ Zenbook Pro Duo machines, there are Intel’s Honeycomb Glacier and the ROG Zephyrus Duo. With laptop design essentially unchanged for decades, could adding extra screens be the way forward, but is five overkill?