The MacBook Air wedge aesthetic: Now an Apple patent
Apple secures a patent for the wedge profile sported by the MacBook Air.
Brooke CrothersFormer CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
The patent documentation states that "the broken lines are for the purpose of illustrating portions of the electronic device and form no part of the claimed design," as The Verge points out.
So that seems to exclude aspects of a laptop's external design that are not material to the wedge contour itself such as a unique hinge component.
Of course, all this hinges on (pun intended) how aggressively Apple defends its patent: the wedge design is really an imperative for any ultrabook maker because the tapered design allows a laptop to be thicker where it needs to be -- e.g., the back hinge -- and thinner at the front, economizing weight and average thickness.
Also, don't forget that it's the newer MacBooks announced back in 2010 that have the most pronounced wedge design. Earlier versions of the Air had much more subtle tapering and "wedge" was not typically used to describe those 2008 and 2009 designs.