Apple is looking to innovate how the hinge of its MacBook works, and it's working to redesign the component altogether.
It's been working on a new type of hinge since 2013, but thanks to the European Patent Office, which published Apple's latest patent additions, we now have an idea of what it is: a flexible hinge.
MacBook With New Hinge Design Coming Soon?
As Patently Apple reports, the patent illustrates a hinge design that's supposed to be flexible, kind of similar to the Surface Book, which features what Microsoft calls a "dynamic fulcrum hinge" that flexes as the display is open or closed.
Apple sometimes refers to its own technology as a "Living Hinge." This would mean that the entire MacBook enclosure could be created "from a single rigid material."
"An enclosure for a laptop may be created from a rigid material having a flexible portion defined around approximately a midpoint of the material. The flexible portion may allow the rigid material to be folded in half and thus acts as a laptop clamshell," Apple writes in the patent.
What Apple describes is essentially a device designed as a single, continuous layer that can be folded in half in the form of a traditional clamshell-design laptop. If true, this could make the manufacturing procedure easier considering that the device requires only a single material.
The Thing About Patents
As impressive as the hinge sounds, it should be noted that this is still just a patent. It's not clear if Apple has begun actual development on the technology, let alone when or if it'll be available. Also, patents shouldn't be taken as absolute indication that a company intends to release whatever product is described. Though not always, patents are often used preemptively as a way to prevent other companies from copying one's ideas and concepts even though there's no intention to make the product.
As mentioned, Apple's new hinge design isn't really news to many. But this marks first time the company specified it for the MacBook, as Patently Apple notes. Previously, it was unclear what the hinge would be used for.
Should You Hold Your Breath For A MacBook With A New Hinge Design?
The fact that Apple has been working on this patent since 2013 suggest it's a very important area of development for the company, but it's difficult to determine when such a hinge will make its way to customers — or if it'll even be released.
Thoughts about the hinge? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!