Sometimes it feels like Apple files patents specifically to throw tech bloggers off. In this case, however, this actually seems like a minor refresh that might be released someday.
Apple has filed a patent for the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard that features a slot in its hinge that the Apple Pencil can slide into, according to Patently Apple. Currently, the only way to store the Apple Pencil is to attach it to the top of the iPad Pro magnetically. While this works and is clearly better than having no location to store the Apple Pencil at all, the stylus can still easily fall off since the magnetic connection isn’t super strong.
The patent, called ‘Accessories for portable electronic devices,’ features a description that doesn’t say much. Instead, it’s the included photographs that show off how the pencil slides into the hinge. Currently, the Magic Keyboard’s hinge is home to a USB-C pass-through port, so it’s likely the Apple Pencil would only be able to slide down one side of the Magic Keyboard.
Below is a brief excerpt from the patent filing:
An exemplary accessory device can include a first segment coupled to a second segment via a first hinge assembly. The accessory can include a third segment coupled to the second segment via a second hinge assembly such that the second segment is positioned between the first and third segments. The accessory device can be arranged between a closed configuration and a configuration of a stand that supports the portable electronic device at a viewing angle.
The patent was initially filed by Apple back in August of 2017 but was only recently published. This indicates that there’s a possibility this is a scrapped design for the Magic Keyboard that Apple decided wasn’t practical.
As usual, it’s important to keep in mind that this is just a patent. This means that the design might never make its way to a future version of Apple’s Magic Keyboard. Still, given how subtle of a redesign this would be to the Magic Keyboard, I’d bet we actually see this new version released in the future.