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Wacky Apple patent: iMac-like laptop dock

If you read my predictions for the new year yesterday, you'll know that for the second year in a row, I'm putting my money on an ultraportable MacBook Pro announcement at the MacWorld Expo. And if I'm right, Apple will again have a high-end ultraportable notebook in its lineup. As exciting as that is, there's one thing that will hold back a lot of power users: the lack of a dock. A lot of folks who drop a large amount of cash on a notebook want to use that machine as both a notebook and a desktop and there's no easier way to do that than a docking station. Alas, too few manufacturers offer docking stations/port replicators in this day and age and Apple is as guilty of this sin as any other major vendor. The last we saw a docking station from Apple was with the PowerBook Duo, which went extinct some 10 years ago.

If a recent Apple patent holds any truth, however, we could soon see the triumphant return of the Apple laptop dock. The image you see above comes from Apple patent filing #0002350 for an "Integrated monitor and docking station." Basically, this thing looks like an iMac from the outside but on the inside there's a docking station, where the iMac's guts would be. Simply slide your laptop into the side-loading dock and you're ready to go. Having trouble envisioning what that would look like? Hit the Gizmodo link at the end of this article to see a rendering that's eerily real. Now, before you get all excited, it's worth noting that Apple files more wacky patents than Willy Wonka--and relatively few of them ever see the light of day as products. Regardless of what Apple has in store for this idea, the very existence of this patent lends further credibility to the ultraportable MacBook Pro rumors.

For more on the dock:
- see this Gizmodo article 


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