What is it with Apple patents and feet these days? First, a patent suggested the tech giant could bring smart socks designed to deliver haptic feedback on your feet while using the Apple VR headset. Now it looks like its MacBook laptops may get "deployable feet" of their own.
A patent application from Apple showcases a new way for MacBook Pro models to keep cool without having to make space for a new thermal system — by lifting the device to increase airflow by using a simple mechanism.
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Spotted by Patently Apple (via MacRumors), the patent describes how the so-called "feet" would be used on a MacBook Pro. As the laptop's display hinge would lift, the deployable feet would work at the same time, lifting the base of the MacBook Pro as an efficient way to keep it cool.
The patent also explains other ways in which the deployable feature would work, including using electro-mechanics or being manually deployed by the user. Another figure shows the whole MacBook Pro base lifting, as opposed to using deployable stands.
"Accordingly, it can be desirable for an electronic device to include deployable features that can both increase clearance of the base portion and also improve the efficiency of the internal volume of the base portion, while maintaining a portable and sleek form factor," the patent states.
While some MacBooks have been known to get warm (hence Google reducing Chrome's RAM usage on Macs so they can keep cool), the most recent M1 MacBook Pro models have an active cooling system to keep things nice and frosty. In fact, the laptop tested well below our 95-degree Fahrenheit comfort threshold in our MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020) review.
We don't expect this feature to arrive with the rumoured 16-inch MacBook Pro, but the new deployable feet could be a sign of the kind of chips we can expect on future MacBooks — the heavy-duty kind.
Patents should be taken with a pinch of salt, as they aren't the most reliable source of foreseeable features on Apple products, but don't rule them out.