A hybrid iPad/MacBook Air? A dockable 'iPad Pro'?
As Macs get more iOS features, you have to wonder if Apple has considered entering the "hybrid" market? What's a hybrid? Glad you asked.
The term refers to either tablets that can be docked into a keyboard, turning them into a laptop or a laptop with a detachable keyboard. Of course, we already have the former thanks to dozens of keyboards -- usually built into cases -- that pair with the iPad.
If Apple entered the hybrid market it might consider a Mac laptop with a removable keyboard. Imagine an 11-inch MacBook Air that, with its keyboard removed, could double as an iPad-like tablet. Of course, that begs the question: would such a device sport the iOS or a touch-enabled version of OS X?
Perhaps Apple might offer what I call an "iPad Pro" -- an iPad that would dock with a larger display and more storage. An Apple patent (number 20080278899) appeared in 2008 for methods and apparatuses for docking a portable electronic device that has a planar-like configuration and that operates in multiple orientations.
This sounds like a futuristic laptop set-up to me. Of course, it could also be plans for a souped-up iPad -- one powerful enough to make a larger display mode feasible.
If Apple did release my imagined iPad Pro, iOS would have to make some major leaps forward to support true multitasking. But as iOS and OS X borrow traits and features from each other, that's probably in the works anyway.
-- Dennis Sellers