Apple has long resisted offering a touchscreen Mac or a notebook with stylus functionality, but that could change. Recently discovered patent documents show a MacBook with an integrated stylus holder, which may preview a radical update for the popular computer.
The application mentions a “chassis with a computing device and an input tool with a sensor, such as a pen- or rod-like input tool that can be positioned relative to the chassis in multiple configurations.” While that’s not the clearest description ever, Apple included a diagram that shows the pencil-like device being stored on the Mac’s keyboard tray above where the function keys currently sit.
Though it’s unclear if the inclusion of a pencil would mean the removal of the function keys, Apple’s language later describes a setup that has the pencil acting as part of the keyboard, similar to the now-gone Touch Bar function. The current Apple Pencil doesn’t offer such functionality, so this would bring a significant upgrade for the input device, but there’s no way of knowing if the same features would make it to an iPad-compatible Pencil.
It’s important to note that this is just a patent application that may or may not become a real product. That said, Apple has long been expected to narrow the gap between the iPad and MacOS devices, so this could be a step toward making that goal a reality. Of course, this would mean a full touchscreen Mac, as it wouldn’t just be the Apple Pencil being used to interact with it. That could mean cross-functionality of iPad and Mac apps and may lead to removable screens and other functional upgrades over a standard notebook.