On Tuesday, the company was granted a patent called "Computer systems and methods with projected display." It describes a computer that "may be substantially or even entirely externally wire-free," utilizing Bluetooth and other wireless technologies, and house an all-in-one-system: computer and projector in the same package. It won't have a monitor because it doesn't need one.
The idea isn't entirely new. A few years back, a company called Blue Light Optics developed a small computer-and-projector combo that didn't even require a physical keyboard — it tracked all of your finger movements through a number of sensors. That device never made it to market, but it (and others like it) may have roughly paved the way for an Apple device in the same vein.
The device also includes a ton of sensors that would gauge various environmental factors — such as information about the projection surface and ambient light conditions — to automatically adjust the picture.
A patent doesn't mean anything concrete, of course; this only indicates that Apple wants to stake a claim on an idea. In the meanwhile, we'll have to be content with Retina Display. (CNET)