Apple patent hints at flexible hinge design called 'Living Hinge' on future MacBook

Apple might bring a Surface Book-style flexible hinge to MacBooks soon.

  • Published: May 29, 2018 2:30 PM IST
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Apple is working on a flexible hinge design that might makes its way to next-generation MacBooks. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker has been working on a new kind of hinge design since 2013 and now a new patent claim published by European Patent Office emphasizes how this flexible hinge design will turn useful on a MacBook.

The patent details outlined by Patently Apple refers to the flexible hinge design as a “Living Hinge.” The reference means that the entire enclosure of MacBook could be created from a single rigid material. The patent seems to suggest a hinge similar to that of ‘Dynamic Fulcrum Hinge’ seen on first and second generation Surface Book from Microsoft.

In the case of Surface Book, the dynamic fulcrum hinge flexes as the laptop is open or closed and the display completely detaches from the base of the device. The hinge has been designed in such a way that the display can be placed in the opposite direction for a tablet-like experience.

“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,” the patent claim describes Apple’s flexible hinge.

The description details a top portion that may support a display screen while the bottom portion might support a keyboard and trackpad. The interior will be defined by sidewalls of the rigid material that may house various electronic components in accordance with conventional laptop computing devices. “In this manner, the enclosure (or a portion thereof) may be created from a single rigid material, while still providing flexibility and bending for the enclosure,” the patent adds.

Apple’s patent claim mainly seems to reflect the flexibility of the hinge and the easier manufacturing process since the entire chassis can be created from a single material. Since this is just a patent application and Apple has been working on similar technology since 2013, it must be taken with a grain of salt.

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Apple is said to be planning major improvements to MacBooks and modular Mac Pro workstation machines. The fact that Apple revisited an old patent suggests the company considers the area to be important. It is difficult to predict if or when such a hinge design will make it to Apple’s final product.

  • Published Date: May 29, 2018 2:30 PM IST