A patent awarded to Apple on Wednesday points to one possible solution the company might use once it finally equips the first MacBook computer with tablet-like functionality. The unique design described in the new patent uses a clutch barrel pivoting component that serves two purposes, Patently Apple reports. First, it houses two embedded antennas that provide integrated cellular connectivity. More interestingly, however, its design allows the laptop’s display to be rotated and folded down on top of the keyboard to provide a touchscreen-only tablet configuration. Read on for more.

Apple introduced a number of iOS-like features in Lion, latest version of its OS X operating system, and they have been met with mixed responses. Many view these changes as the early stages of a transition, however, and it may eventually lead to an interface suitable for both keyboard and touch input. Apple’s new patent shows us one way the company might build a MacBook tablet hybrid, though there is currently no indication that the design detailed within this patent is currently in development beyond the theoretical stages. One more drawing from Apple’s new patent filing follows below, and additional details can be found in Patently Apple’s report.