Apple Working on 'Living Hinge' for Laptops
While one might think Apple should put all of its resources into the MacBook's keyboard, it appears that its focusing instead on the laptop's hinge.
Patently Apple notes that the company has updated a 2013 patent that shows a device with a flexible hinge that would let the laptop be made of one solid piece of metal that the patent describes as a "Living Hinge."
"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 patent reads. "The flexible portion may allow the rigid material to be folded in half and thus acts as a laptop clamshell. A top portion may support a display screen and a bottom portion may support a keyboard, track pad, and the like, while an interior defined by sidewalls of the rigid material may house a variety of 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."
While the most obvious use of this is for a laptop, the patent images describe a "clamshell for a MacBook, iPhone or other device."
The drawings look a lot like the dynamic fulcrum hinge on the Microsoft's Surface Book lineup, though that device has a detachable screen. Given Apple's current designs, it's unlikely that the company would be OK with the somewhat awkward gap that device has even when closed.
Ideas can take a long time to move from the patent stage to an actual product. Sometimes, that doesn't happen at all. So we're not expecting to see this hit a laptop anytime soon.