Open the pod bay door, iMac

Is this the Cloudbook dock?

iMacDock_300.jpg

As reported by MacNN and Mac Rumors, this drawing appears in an Apple patent application, published today by the patent office, for an “integrated monitor and docking station.” (It looks like Jobs may have done the drawing himself.) Essentially, it’s an iMac-like shell with a monitor into which you slide a small portable computer. As the patent describes it, “The docking station includes a display and a housing configured to hold the display in a manner that exposes a viewing surface of the display to view. The housing defines a docking area configured to receive a portable computer.”

What better place to keep your Apple-Google cloud computer when you’re at home?

8 Comments

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8 Responses to Open the pod bay door, iMac

  1. No, it’s probably much more component-ized — less vertically integrated. Apple might get some spend-leader market there but Greenspun is closer to reality. Just a bunch of portable bricks and then (more or less) “terminals” everywhere.

    Aesthetics / HCI of the sketch aside, the real deal has to be both very flexible in terms of what talks to what and, also, like the PC, made up of truly commoditized components.

    -t

  2. By way of indirect plays, I’d bet on local area power busses — alternatives to wall warts and 120v lines. Slough down in the comfy chair at the cafe, pull out your computing bricks, point them at the terminal at one and other — and yr wirelessly (or via table surface) off batteries and on wall power.

    -t

  3. Nick Carr

    Tom, I noticed the following line in the patent application: “A docking station as recited in claim 1, wherein power is inductively provided from the docking station to the portable computer when docked in the housing without using a conductive electrical contact between the docking station and the docked portable computer”

  4. The slide-in feature reminds me of the transparent slide-in memory devices that appeared in the opening sequences of MINORITY REPORT. AT least there aren’t any wooden balls here!

  5. George Geist

    Toshiba did something similar for Tablet PCs about three years ago: http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/adet.to?seg=HHO&poid=292143. You snap the Tablet (screen side exposed) into this stand, giving you an eye-level vertical monitor (the tablet screen), attached keyboard and mouse, etc.

    It didn’t have the no-connector connection, but it’s hard to see the deep value in avoiding a connector once you have to slide the laptop into a slot in any case.

    The Toshiba device wasn’t elegant looking, and I’m sure Apple’s will be, but at least from the drawing there’s nothing revolutionary.

  6. Keith Fortowsky

    I think the cloud computer is already here:

    http://eeepc.asus.com/

    My Eee connects to google, etc, & has openoffice as a backup if I am in a place without wifi.

    Why would I want to pay $$$ for a slide in dock, when I can hook up any generic LCD monitor and USB mouse/keyboard ?

  7. I’m wondering if this isn’t a Mac Tablet instead of the super-portable notebook that everybody seems to think it might be.

    http://sparkplug9.com/2008/01/07/apple-tablet/

  8. The new MacBook Air measures 13″ x 9″ x 0.76″. My (pre-Intel) Mac measures 18″ x 14″ x 2″ – you could lose one of those in there.

    Keith – why would anyone want to pay $$$ for an MP3 player when they can get something that does exactly the same job, from a reputable name like Creative, for half the price?