Apple this week was granted a number of patents, including one for an extendable antenna system that could be used in MacBook notebooks or future iPads.
Detailed in a post on the Patently Apple site, the patent calls for removable or extendable antennas located on the side of a notebook display. While shown on a notebook, the architecture could be applied to a tablet.
The antenna structure may be physically but removably coupled to the MacBook so as to allow the antenna structure to be removed without damaging the antenna structure or MacBook. The coupling of antenna structure to the MacBook may facilitate easy replacement of the antenna structure and may facilitate break-away of the antenna structure when a force is applied that could otherwise damage the antenna structure.
In addition, the patent offers another example of Apple's interest in magnetic coupling, such as used in the Mag Safe power adapter, and in the magnetic array introduced with the new iPad 2 Smart Cover. In the patent, magnets would hold the antenna in place.
The stowed position of the antenna structure may improve the visual appearance of the MacBook. For example, when the antenna structure is in the stowed position, the antenna structure may blend in with the surrounding portions of the MacBook and thereby reduce visual clutter. In the stowed position, the antenna structure is also generally less vulnerable to accidental detachment.
In another post, Patently Apple said that the Smart Cover introduced in the iPad 2 could be outfitted with a solar panel. According to the site, Apple has been considering adding this feature for a few years.