[IPAD ACCESSORY] An entire Mac in a keyboard!

So I was inspired by this guy on Reddit

Basically he turned a MacBook with damaged display into an iPad keyboard dock. He used Apple’s own Sidecar feature for the iPad to show the display output from the Mac

Of course buying a MacBook to get rid of its display is wasteful, and not to mention expensive. Fortunately Apple also sells a MacBook without a display, and it’s called the Mac Mini.

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The M1 could mean smaller Macs. Look at the tiny logic board and empty space in the Mac

Yes, the mainboard of the new M1 Mac Mini is actually tiny, about 1/4-1/3 the size of the Mac Mini itself.

Eve could then design a housing, keyboard, hinges, battery, etc. around the Mac Mini that’s shaped like a laptop dock.

Anyone wants an M1 MacBook with a USB-A port? This is your chance, and I bet it will sell like hotcakes.

Unlike Hackintosh, this is full Apple’s hardware, minus the housing. Therefore, it would get all the future software support from Apple.

Note that there are several disadvantages, mainly comes from the limitation of Sidecar itself:

  1. Even though the iPad has a touchscreen, some things on macOS can’t be touched when running on the iPad using Sidecar.

  2. The Mac part needs its own speakers, as Sidecar does not route audio to the iPad

  3. The iPad part and the Mac part would each require their own USB port in the dock. Note that if you don’t intend to plug anything to the iPad apart from charging (like many, many people do), this won’t be an issue.

  4. We need some sort of a KVM switch, to switch the keyboard functionality between “iPad mode” and “Mac Mode”

  5. People may forget to turn the Mac off when they turn the iPad off.

  6. Alternatively, Eve could use a touchscreen in place of a trackpad (but still functions like a trackpad) like the Asus’ ScreenPad, acting as a backup (and also an extra screen). That way, the ScreenPad will remind you that the Mac is still active Screw it, I was overthinking, a single LED would do the job.

But it’s not all negative:

  1. The first advantage is obvious, you’ll get the best of both worlds.

  2. We don’t have to put up with Apple’s limitation. You like a USB-A, or HDMI port? We could have that. Does the iPad still have headphone jack these days?

  3. If your iPad supports LTE, the Mac will also get the LTE connection via USB. Mac with LTE, anyone?

  4. Even without the Mac part, the laptop dock alone already extends the functionality of the iPad with the keyboard, trackpad, extra ports, battery, etc. Probably cheaper than the Magic Keyboard too, if you didn’t include the Mac part

  5. Sidecar adds touchbar to the bottom of the screen. So yeah, you got a Mac with a touchbar, and you get to keep the Esc key too!

  6. You may never need to charge the iPad, since the laptop dock could charge the iPad.

  7. Use the iPad’s glorious camera instead of whatever thing Apple puts on their MacBooks (https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/iphone-mac-webcam-3793322/)

  8. Finally, it’s still a Mac Mini underneath. When you get home, plug it to your monitor and charger, and you got yourself a powerful desktop PC. Plus a totally independent iPad.

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Random idea: The laptop dock contains a tiny router and a tiny NAS (probably utilizing an M.2 SSD). The router has a (wired) network interface to both the Mac part and IOS part.

That way, you could then share files across both OSes, without them being dependant on each other. E.g you could access the NAS just by plugging the iPad to the dock, without turning the Mac on at all.

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While this seems like a cool idea, it would probably appeal to a very small amount of users, and since it would require buying Mac Minis and disassembling them, I don’t think it would be a very viable product. Apart from that, I’m not sure how Apple would feel about a company reassembling their device in a new enclosure.

It’s definitely a cool idea though. When I saw the size of the Mac Mini’s internals I immediately thought of the recently released Raspberry Pi 400.

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The disassembly is done at Eve’s factory. So the users buys a working Mac already.

I think there is a law protecting that. As long as you acquire the Mac Mini legally, you should be allowed to do anything you want with it. You are not allowed to advertise it as an Apple product, so no Apple logo on the outside since it’s not 100% Apple, but you could still say it has a Mac Mini processor and all.

The ModBook comes to mind, they converted Macbooks into tablets.

Also it’s quite common in the, say, car industry with cars from Brabus, RUF, etc.

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There could also be a Windows version too

I like the idea, and I’m glad that you’re not the only person who noticed the large amount of empty space in the new Mac Mini.

But I wouldn’t use an ipad. I would just straight up put a mac in.

This does remind me–intel had a line of stick PC’s a few years back. One could easily be installed in one of these keyboards.

For those of us who commute to an office, it doesn’t really make sense to lug around a big monitor, even a relatively small one like 13 inches, when you can just use the 24 inch monitor that is cheap and around the office.

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