While Apple still seems to be toying with the idea of getting LED-backlit LCDs into its MacBook Pro, a few clever engineers behind tightly sealed Cupertino doors have been chewing on another concept. Based on two recent patents belonging to Apple, it seems as if the company is investigating ways to get its already-thin laptop lineup even slimmer, and its going after the optical drive first and foremost. Based on the wording and diagrams found in the filings, we could end up seeing optical drives mounted underneath of the laptop in order to free up that oh-so-precious space underneath the palm rest. Additionally, the patent includes detailed information about accessing the disc drive in ways that won't hinder efficiency while computing, as well as various "active user interface" mechanisms designed to prevent users from "accidentally" ejecting their disc. So while there's sure to never be a public word spoken from Jobs & Co. about this potentially fictitious idea, we definitely wouldn't complain about a trimmed down version of Apple's lappies, but if this ends up seeing the light of day, we can probably kiss those awkward-sounded slot-loading drives a fond farewell.
Read - Apple's access system for a portable device patent
Read - Apple's disk drive media access patent