Microsoft published a new patent detailing a similar Apple Magic Keyboard feature that allows a compatible iPad Air or iPad Pro to appear like a floating screen. The next Surface device could use the same trick.
Spotted by Windows Latest, the patent describes a cantilever hinge mechanic attached to a stand that allows a display to be positioned at different angles. The filed patent also states this could be used for a device that "may include a touch-screen display and/or one or more input devices," suggesting it can be used in a laptop or tablet accessory.
The feature appears to work in the same vein as the Magic Keyboard for iPad models, but aims to offer more flexibility thanks to a "stand hinge between the display and the stand."
The iPad keyboard can tilt to a 130-degree angle, but the Microsoft patent suggests it can operate in various postures, including in a laptop, studio, and an "intermediate (airplane)" position. Displays suggest it could be angled flat, too.
The patent doesn't indicate what Microsoft device it could be used in, only stating it can be used in a "computing device." However, a Surface Book would be a prime candidate, seeing as it's a 2-in-1 laptop known for its seamless laptop/tablet hybrid capabilities.
Plus, it may be due for an update over the next year; with the Microsoft Surface Book 3 releasing in early 2020. Rumors of the next Surface Book have already sparked, too.
As with all patents, Microsoft may never end up using the nifty hinge feature at all. However, if used in other devices such as the next Microsoft Surface Pro or Surface Go, Microsoft could make a bigger impact in the tablet market to finally give Apple's line of iPad models more competition.