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Apple is researching the use of "deployable feet" on the MacBook Pro to aid cooling, according to a newly-published patent application.

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The patent application, first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Deployable Feet for Display Articulation and Thermals Performance" and outlines how a MacBook Pro could feature feet that move to raise up the rear of the device. Apple's deployable feet are able to extend by at least 3.8 millimeters, thereby significantly increasing airflow underneath the machine.

The filing explains how, in one embodiment, the MacBook Pro's display hinge could be connected to the deployable feet, so that the feet deploy relative to the mechanical movement of the lid.

macbook-pro-deployable-feet-patent-mechanical.jpg


In other embodiments, the feet could be deployed via a gear train, pneumatics, electro-mechanics, or simply flipped out manually by a user. The filing also suggests that the entire base of a MacBook Pro could expand, rather than individual feet.

macbook-pro-deployable-feet-patent-raised-base.jpg


The patent application explains that deployable feet can be an "efficient means of cooling the device" without taking up internal space with large components such as fans, ensuring that the MacBook remains "thin and lightweight while simultaneously including numerous features delivering high performance."

As the number and performance of internal components increases, so do thermal and other demands on the electronic device. Thus, there exists a demand for efficient usage of space within an electronic device, and efficient means of cooling the device. Accordingly, it can be desirable for an electronic device to include deployable features that can both increase clearance of the base portion and also improve the efficiency of the internal volume of the base portion, while maintaining a portable and sleek form factor.

In an embodiment where the deployable section is larger, the patent states that "the deployable feature can at least partially define a vent when deployed," potentially adding a dedicated vent as well as increasing natural airflow underneath the device.

macbook-pro-deployable-feet-patent-wedge.jpg


In addition, Apple explains how the deployable feet tie into the Mac's software. When in a deployed position, the Mac's processor may be permitted to get hotter to deliver better performance, due to the increased airflow. In Macs that do feature a fan as well as deployable feet, the fan's speed would be "at least partially" determined based on the extent of the deployment.

The electronic device can include a sensor that detects at least one of a temperature or a processing speed of the electronic device, and provides the signal in response to the detection. The electronic device can further include a fan, wherein a speed of the fan is at least partially based on a state of the deployable feature.

The filing also addresses the potential waste of space within a MacBook that deployable feet could cause. It proposes that when in the deployed position, the internal space used to store the feet may be repurposed to be "usable by an antenna or a speaker."

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The design has the added advantage of giving the display hinge more clearance to rotate, as well as improving the angle of the device for typing and raising the height of the display for greater comfort.

While Apple's patent applications cannot be taken as sure evidence of what the company is intending to add to its devices, there may be good reason to suggest that a feature such as deployable feet could be implemented on MacBooks at some point in the future.

Apple is demonstrably interested in passive cooling. The company has explored passively-cooled laptops starting with the 12-inch MacBook in 2015, and most recently with the latest MacBook Air, which features no fan or vents on its base for cooling. Moreover, as the internal components of MacBooks are becoming more compact with the advent of Apple silicon, alongside improved battery life, it is perhaps more likely that deployable feet could be justified within a future Mac laptop.

Apple is believed to be working on high-performance custom silicon processors for future MacBook Pro models. Unlike the M1 chip, which generally runs very cool and powers Apple's entry-level Macs, the next-generation Apple silicon expected to come to the MacBook Pro is likely to have much more demanding thermal requirements.

Deployable feet could be one way in which Apple is able to improve the thermals of its passively cooled MacBooks, as well as enable even higher-performance on its Pro machines with active cooling, at some time in the future.

Article Link: Apple Researching 'Deployable Feet' to Enhance MacBook Pro Cooling
 

dukeblue219

macrumors regular
Dec 18, 2012
213
374
This is something I'd expect with my Dell, and it's why I mount it in a vertical stand. Would be very surprised to see the "thin and beautiful at all costs" Apple implement something like this.
 

Maconplasma

Cancelled
Sep 15, 2020
2,489
2,215
I have a late 2013 MacBook Pro that can't even handle running Amazon because of the CPU Cooler. It will turn on after a couple of minutes of looking at Amazon.com. When it kicks on, it literally sounds like an airplane.
Sounds more like your fans are dirty especially the fact that you have a very old machine. I have multiple Macs and none of them even get warm from using Amazon.
 

SkyRom

macrumors regular
Dec 17, 2018
132
668
Asus has been doing this with their gaming laptops, and it greatly enhances thermal performance. I'm sure if Apple does it, it will be expertly engineered and probably look cool too. Maybe they'll make a gaming laptop sometime once they settle with Epic in 10 years lol ?
 

Macintosh IIvx

Suspended
Mar 19, 2021
175
645
They had feet on the PowerBook 170 that raised the back. It was more for keyboard angle, but this is not a new concept.
The difference was that you manually flipped those nobs ones down. I had the same machine (along with the PowerBook 100, 140, 180, Duo 210, 230, and 270c, 520c, 150, 190, 5300, 5300cs, Duo 2300e, 1400c, 3400, and 2400). Owned quite a few PowerBooks over the years.
 
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AlexESP

macrumors 6502a
Sep 7, 2014
676
1,826
LMFAO. THIS is their solution to improper thermals in their laptops? How about not making them so asininely thin they don't need a wind tunnel to cool them down for starters?
I’m tired of having to say this in every post, but MacBooks aren’t specially thin, and definitely not “asininely thin”. And anyway, if the industry followed that thinking, we would never achieve paper-thin laptops (which I suppose all of us want in the long term).
 

ejbrennan

macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2021
28
64
I’m tired of having to say this in every post, but MacBooks aren’t specially thin, and definitely not “asininely thin”. And anyway, if the industry followed that thinking, we would never achieve paper-thin laptops (which I suppose all of us want in the long term).

I am not sure why paper-thin is even a goal, its certainly nothing I care about. My laptop is thin enough, and would prefer more (more power, more, memory, more storage, more gpu options) way before I would trade it for a couple of mm's less thickness.
 
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