Apple gets fans juices flowing with iMac-like laptop dock
Designed for the rumoured Mac sub-notebook?
The latest Apple patent filing to excite the Mac masses shows the manufacturer's iMac recast as a docking station for a MacBook laptop.
Apple's been here before, of course, with its Duo range of PowerBooks , launched in 1992. Unlike standard PowerBooks, the Duos were designed to dock into a Mac-like desktop unit that improved the unit's monitor support and audio output, and added a floppy drive.
Apple's mooted dock: made for the Flash-based MacBook?
This time round, however, the docking station described in US patent application  number 20080002350 incorporates a flat-panel display. The unit looks like an iMac, but with a big slot in the side to take the notebook.
The rear of the docking station shows a full array of ports, while the side panel with the docking slot shows a dedicated docking port. With the portable in place, its side-facing optical drive is exposed to allow the user to slot in DVDs and the like.
That probably means it's not being developed specifically for the much-rumoured Flash-based ultra-portable MacBook , which is widely being tipped to be unveiled at the Macworld Expo show in San Francisco on 15 January.
The slimline laptop is claimed to lack a built-in optical drive, the better to reduce its thickness and weight.
That said, optical drives are pretty skinny these days, and if the sub-notebook does, as has been suggested, sport a 13in widescreen display, there'd certainly be room for an optical drive in the casing.