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Apple's New Concept Could Reinvent the iPad, MacBook Pro (AAPL)

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Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has come up with an interesting way to let its users write documents and send e-mails in future devices: by taking away the traditional keyboard.

While it is only a concept, Patently Apple has detailed Apple's plans for a "single transparent work area that's multi-touch."

Since that "work area" is transparent, users could close the notebook and still see its screen. And since the lid is touch sensitive, they would still be able to interact with the device -- similar to (but more creative than) the laptops that transform into tablets.

The patent goes one step further in explaining that this concept could be applied to a wide range of devices, including media players, desktops, smartphones and gaming machines.

While Apple has produced items within the first three categories, it has yet to develop a game-specific device.

It is unclear why Apple would want to eliminate an essential feature like the keyboard, but Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) might have helped inspire this idea.

When the Windows maker released its first tablet last fall, it offered two ultra-thin keyboard substitutes. One of them featured thin, clickable keys; the other offered a flatter, touch-sensitive feel.

Not all critics were pleased with these keyboards, but most of them seemed to like Microsoft's interesting concept.

By replacing the keyboard altogether, Apple may be looking to one-up Microsoft, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and other competitors.

In addition to the transparent work area, Apple has also been granted a patent that involves a "3D trackpad and/or Joystick for CAD and/or gaming applications."

Apple originally filed patents for these concepts (and several others) in October. Now that the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple these patents, the company is free to begin developing new products.

Investors should not get too excited, however. Cool patent concepts typically stay on the drawing board until someone else produces a product. When that happens, tech giants reach into their bag of patents and sue the offending parties.

Unlike most patents, however, these patents could be useful outside of court -- if applied to the appropriate device.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Apple iPad MacBook Patently AppleNews Rumors Success Stories Tech Best of Benzinga

 

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