Are touchscreen laptops the future? Those hoping to see Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock touch new highs should hope so, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

In a recent patent filing (8,654,524), Apple specifies the idea of a MacBook "housing as an I/O" device. The idea? Give MacBook users more input options, presumably via an interactive touchscreen aided by sensors implanted along the base and bezel of the computer.

We don't know a lot about what Apple has planned. Plus, since this is only a patent, there's no guarantee that any of the specified innovations will make their way into a full-scale Apple product. And yet Tim says it's nice to see the company thinking about ways to improve its MacBook line without resorting to copycatting convertible systems, such as Microsoft's Surface. After all, Mac sales accounted for 11% of revenue in fiscal Q1.

The irony, of course, is that Apple has panned the notion of converging tablet and laptop functions in a single device. Could this patent signal a reversal? That's harder to tell, Tim says, though including support for resizing images via a MacBook touchscreen probably doesn't amount to a change of heart when it comes to selling "hybrid" systems.

Or maybe it does. EIther way, it seems more of them are coming: NPD DisplaySearch says 11% of all notebooks shipped last year were touch-enabled. The firm expects that ratio to rise to more than 40% by 2017.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you want to see Apple come out with a touch MacBook? Please watch the video to get his full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand and whether you would buy, sell, or short Apple stock at current prices.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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