Apple Patents Convertible MacBook And An Indoor Street View

Posted Apr 4, 2013

Apple Inc. has patented two interesting innovations.  The first patent is based on a convertible MacBook design that has a touch-sensitive screen and can separate from the base.  The second patent is a way to navigate inside buildings using a Street View-like virtual map.

Convertible MacBook

The convertible MacBook looks similar to the way that the Microsoft Surface works along with some other Android tablet designs.  What makes the Apple version different is that the detached screen can communicate with the base through WiFi, Bluetooth, and other wireless communication.  The screen is touch-sensitive, but it cannot act as a standalone tablet the same way that the Microsoft Surface does.

The screen can charge wirelessly using induction charging and can draw power from the base.  Keep in mind that this is a convertible laptop not a convertible tablet.

Indoor Street View

Apple also filed a patent for using a Street View-style from the perspective of a person walking on the street themselves.  Apple’s navigation is motion controlled and treats the environment as a panorama, which makes it different from Google.  The data is grabbed using motion detection from onboard device sensors so that people can experience a virtual “walk” through the streets.

This patent application correlates with the company’s acquisition of WiFiSlam.  It also describes using the system to map and navigate indoor environments so people could go “inside” buildings.  The patent was filed in September 2011.