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Thursday, January 03, 2008, 08:50 am PT (11:50 am ET)

Apple filing proposes iMac-like notebook docking station

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.

Apple iMac docking station


The filing, which is credit to Apple engineer Augustin Farrugia, was originally made on July 3, 2006 and published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the first time on Thursday.