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Apple may produce convertible laptop/tablet hybrid

A new patent suggests that Apple might be considering a convertible laptop whereby users could remove the screen and use it as a tablet.

As noted by AppleInsider, the patent - which was filed in September 2011 - covers a "wireless display for electronic devices."

More specifically, though, the application describes a computer with a base and a display that allows for users to remove the display from that base.

"The display includes a screen for displaying a video output, a display wireless chip in communicating with the base wireless chip, and a power wireless chip in communication with the power source," the patent reads. "The base wireless chip transmits data from the processor to the display. Also, when the display is at least in one position with respect to the base, the power source transmits power to the power transition member of the display."

The filing doesn't mean Apple is actually working on this device, though. Companies frequently apply for patents on technologies that never see the light of day or are still in the very early stages of development (smart shoe? 5D technology?)

A number of convertible laptop/tablets were released with the launch of Windows 8, but the gadgets have yet to really take off. If Apple found a way to elegantly merge the iPad with the Mac however, things might change.

But as Thursday numbers from Gartner illustrate, the move from PCs to tablets is underway, and a lot has changed since September 2011. Apple is also rumoured to be working on a number of new products - from a smartwatch to the iTV, so it remains to be seen if there is also room for a convertible laptop on Jony Ive's workbench.