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Apple filing proposes iMac-like notebook docking station

post #1 of 91
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A quick-and-dirty patent filing on the behalf of Apple Inc. proposes a new notebook docking station modeled after its all-in-one iMac desktop computer, where a notebook computer would be inserted into the side of the iMac-like chassis, essentially morphing it into a streamlined desktop system while docked.

Traditionally, notebook docking stations require a separate external monitor to be connected to the docking station when a display other than the integrated display of the notebook computer is desired to be used with the docking station. However, this concept requires a significant amount of desk space for placement of the docking station and separate display, Apple wrote in the filing, adding that attempts by third parties have been made address the issue by allowing the external display to be stacked on top of the docking station.

"However, the stacked combination still occupies a large amount of space and is cumbersome to move and transport," the company said. "Therefore there exists a need for a docking station and display combination that is configured in a more efficient form."

Apple's solution essentially calls for a hollow iMac chassis which retains its display and I/O connectors. The housing would include an internal docking area configured to receive a notebook and an LCD screen configured to display images rendered by that notebook when inserted into the docking cavity.

In some instances, the Mac maker said the docking cavity would completely consume the notebook, leaving the portable computer visible only through the recess on the right side of the iMac docking station. In other instances, however, a portion of a larger-sized notebook may protrude beyond the the opening of the docking cavity.



The filing, which is credit to Apple engineer Augustin Farrugia, was originally made on July 3, 2006 and published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the first time on Thursday.
post #2 of 91
I was wondering when this was going to pop up on the site
post #3 of 91
Didn't apple do this before with the PowerBook Duo and the Duo Dock? See here It seemed a fairly good idea the first time and this would be a great way to adapt the "ultra portable" to a home computer when you wanted to dock it or use a larger monitor.
post #4 of 91
Kinda weird. And it makes the internal screen of the laptop useless when docked. I was hoping for something more like this:


but for a laptop. And to dock it, you would dock it while it was open to utilize the built-in screen alone, or with a screen+external screen combo.
post #5 of 91
I think it would be more interesting in reverse, by having a wireless screen linked to your home computer.
post #6 of 91
Yes, it is like the Duo Dock, but now with less ugly.
post #7 of 91
The Mac Tablet (or iTablet) was coming. It is now here.
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post #8 of 91
I love those iMac drawings.
post #9 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stewisawesome View Post

Didn't apple do this before with the PowerBook Duo and the Duo Dock? See here It seemed a fairly good idea the first time and this would be a great way to adapt the "ultra portable" to a home computer when you wanted to dock it or use a larger monitor.

The older dock had many more features than this one:
1- You could add the cheaper standard memory in the dock. Allowing you to use both memories simultaneously.
2- You could add a "math co-processor" that would make the device much faster when docked. They are be able to add a place for a secondary processor that would allow the computer to function as a dual when docked.
3- Two PCI slots for video cards and/or network cards. You could have dual monitors when docked.

The original dock seems much more useful than this imac dock.
post #10 of 91
I'm not sure I'm thrilled with this dock at all. To me, a dock is meant to provide an easy way to quickly connect your portable to a set of peripherals and perhaps offer some extras like an additional drive bay. I'd also like the option of adding an extra LCD or not based on my own needs. This dock looks like it'd be really expensive and I'm not sure if the dock could be used as a regular display without a the portable docked in it (that would at least ease some of my reservations about it).
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post #11 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

Kinda weird. And it makes the internal screen of the laptop useless when docked.

Usually when users want to dock a laptop, it is because they have a larger screen on their desk than the laptop.

And a "sub notebook" would have a SMALLER screen than your typical laptop.

This design makes perfect sense.
post #12 of 91
I have been wanting a Duo like system for some time. I used to own a PowerBook Duo 280C and really liked it. What I have wanted though is something along the duo line where there was a box that you slide your ultra portable into so it becomes a desktop system but with a little more oomph. So, for example, take the current Mac Pro case, have a vertical slit in it that the ultra portable can slide into right in the front, and it becomes a desktop system working with my two 30" Apple Cinema Displays I have at home. What I also want is this Pro Case dock to also have its own processors so in itself, it is a home system separate from the ultra portable, but when I plug the ultra portable in, the system now works off of both CPUs for a super fast system with multiple CPUs. Separate they can be used on their own also.

I am not sure I like the iMac looking screen dock. I would prefer monitors be separate so I can have two big ones and the dock be a tower like or small cube like box that the portable slides into.

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post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by suhail View Post

The older dock had many more features than this one:
1- You could add the cheaper standard memory in the dock. Allowing you to use both memories simultaneously.
2- You could add a "math co-processor" that would make the device much faster when docked. They are be able to add a place for a secondary processor that would allow the computer to function as a dual when docked.
3- Two PCI slots for video cards and/or network cards. You could have dual monitors when docked.

The original dock seems much more useful than this imac dock.

1- Today's MacBooks and iMacs use the same type of memory.
2- Today's MacBooks and iMacs use the same type of processor (with the exception of the Extreme option on the 24" iMac
3- Today's MacBooks and iMacs support dual displays and have built-in Ethernet and AirPort

So most of those DuoDock features are obsolete or not present in anything less than the Mac Pro today anyway.
post #14 of 91
Definitely, Kasper's Automated Slave is out for some hunting today.
post #15 of 91
Attached to my work Dell's dock are a full-size keyboard, multi-button mouse, gig network, 2 monitors, headphones, and iPod USB cable. So for me a dock is all about quickly taking the laptop and going somewhere, but still having all the "comforts" of a desktop while at a desk.

I think a Mac (with it's great support for configuration changing) would make a much better dockable machine than a Windows box, but this dock seems overbearing to me. I already *have* monitors I like, why buy more?

Still, having a dock might get me to actually buy a MacBook. (Actually, not until it's up to date in Java, since that's my day job, but a lot closer.)
post #16 of 91
Perhaps the iMac will become this? A desktop, a laptop and a tablet all in one
post #17 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

Perhaps the iMac will become this? A desktop, a laptop and a tablet all in one

A desktop... a laptop... a tablet... but wait!... these are all one thing! (crowd goes nuts)

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post #18 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buck View Post

I love those iMac drawings.

I wonder where those came from, because they don't follow the conventions required by the patent office. They would be rejected.

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post #19 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

A desktop... a laptop... a tablet... but wait!... these are all one thing! (crowd goes nuts)

It slices, it dices, it juilienes.
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post #20 of 91
I think all these recent patent filings are there to throw off the rumor mill before MWSF. The OLED keyboard one has obviously already been done.
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post #21 of 91
...but would this be better than getting a 23" cinema display and keyboard for my macbook pro?
post #22 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Usually when users want to dock a laptop, it is because they have a larger screen on their desk than the laptop.

And a "sub notebook" would have a SMALLER screen than your typical laptop.

This design makes perfect sense.

Except that you end up paying a lot more to be stuck with an underpowered machine. Sure, you're docked and that saves space while giving you a larger screen at home. But you're still using the processor and weak integrated video card of the ultra thin laptop.

Wouldn't it be better to just hook up an external monitor and EXTEND the desktop for less money? Sure, it takes up more space, but it's cheaper and better. Or better yet, buy an iMac and just sync the two computers via WiFi. It'll probably only be a few hundred dollars more.

Plus, think about how messed up your window arrangements are going to be when constantly switching between two main monitors of different resolutions. The Finder can't remember where its windows are supposed to be as it is.

I'm glad Apple is making an ultra portable. But I don't think it's going to be as popular as everyone thinks it is.
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by amishman View Post

It slices, it dices, it juilienes.

It's a floor wax.....It's a dessert topping!

Ooh, I think I just dated myself.
post #24 of 91
I hate to admit it, but I think this dock looks like a terrible idea -- why should I buy another monitor that won't be the same size/height of the one I already have? If I'm doing the dual monitor thing, then I want a matched pair so it all has a similar feel (one big and one small makes it easy to "loose" open windows -- a minor but very irritating issue. I'd be happy with a single dongle that I plug into one port on my laptop and is hooked to everything else. there's your "no footprint" option.

Although the ipod-based option is pretty cool too.
post #25 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

A desktop... a laptop... a tablet... but wait!... these are all one thing! (crowd goes nuts)

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post #26 of 91
I don't need a large screen and I like being able to take my computer out of town with me. I've got a MacBook, with a keyboard and mouse from a previous Mac, with this stand (which is extremely stable):



Which gives the appearance of a 13.3" iMac:



The stand also supports a 17" MBP with stability as well.

Here are some options if you're looking to buy one:

Mstand Laptop Stand By Rain Design - Google Product Search

Here's the company's page:

mStand - specs
post #27 of 91
I tried using a notebook stand, but the bulk of the notebook sort of destroys the deskspace; I ended up buying an iMac. Nice solution for people on a tighter budget than me, I guess.

This is more like it:

http://gizmodo.com/339918/apple-dock...a+slim-macbook

 

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post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post


What? A drunken dog?
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

Perhaps the iMac will become this? A desktop, a laptop and a tablet all in one

Would that ever be a cool keynote...

-Presenting the new iMac...
-Drumroll, followed by audible disappointment as the camera displays a pretty vanilla looking 24" iMac.
-Followed by gasps as Steve ejects the new ultraportable from the side
-Followed by more gasps as Steve disconnects the screen from the portable's keyboard to show the tablet.
-Followed by a real-time $50 jump in AAPL.

post #30 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post


Ooh, I think I just dated myself.

That sounds painful (and illegal in several states.)
post #31 of 91
I think this looks great. It could be improved if it had additional ports to hook up a second (or third) monitor, but it is great for those of us with limited desk space (the docking station for most laptops is just one more thing I have to find a space for on my desk, so I'll pass).

The angled docks that use the laptop screen are nice, but they wouldn't work for current Apple laptops; the screens don't open far enough. If your laptop is angled at -45 degrees, and your screen needs to be at at least 90, the minimum range would be 135-145 degrees open. At present, the macbook pro opens to maybe 100 deg. Something like this design might manage a retrofit, whereas most other docking solutions would require an overhaul of the current product line.
post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Usually when users want to dock a laptop, it is because they have a larger screen on their desk than the laptop.

And a "sub notebook" would have a SMALLER screen than your typical laptop.

This design makes perfect sense.

But it comes with a large Fresnel Magnifying sheet to stick over it.
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post #33 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by amishman View Post

It slices, it dices, it juilienes.

What! No Ginsu Knives if I order now?
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post #34 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by amishman View Post

It slices, it dices, it juilienes.

... and then you can cook it on an Apple TV!
post #35 of 91
I agree w/ Mr Piddly, wireless is the way to go. I mean really, what is this the 20th century?? A wireless screen that docks wirelessly, whether or not the laptop screen is open or not. Of course all your home peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc.) are linked to your wireless screen, preferably wirelessly!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpiddly View Post

I think it would be more interesting in reverse, by having a wireless screen linked to your home computer.
post #36 of 91
if this happens, im getting one. this would actually be so useful to me. since i finished school i dont really need the mobility that my macbook has, i only really need a desktop, with this i could just plug it in and use it as a desktop!! i want one! please...
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post #37 of 91
Haha, charming drawings
post #38 of 91
There's no particular reason why the iMac-like dock would have to only have a screen and ports. If it's as large as a real iMac there would be plenty of room for e.g. an optical drive and a hard drive, at minimum. That would (mostly) obviate the need for either in a subnotebook. You could sync the notebook iPod-style when you dock it, run Software Update and Time Machine, etc. and then take whatever particular things you need with you on the plane in a super thin laptop with, say, 32GB of flash RAM (64GB if you splurge) and an Intel UMPC chipset and nothing else under the hood.

It could happen.
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post #39 of 91
Steve could skip all this and provide a low-cost mid-tower that docks your iPhone and/or iPod for enhanced features (something that I think would actually appeal to a lot larger market than a docking screen-station for what's bound to be an overpriced and underwhelming sub-notebook).

I've had the Duo 210 and 230s (actually still have them and all the various "docks" and utility connectors). A closed system that does what Steve thinks you should want is not quite the same as having a real system you can modify to do everything you want.
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I wonder where those came from, because they don't follow the conventions required by the patent office. They would be rejected.

They were accepted because Jonathan Ive's twins drew them.
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