Future MacBook Pro might need strong state keyboard, like its trackpad | AppleInsider


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Apple has been awarded a patent for a “Keyless keyboard,” which reveals the corporate is no less than contemplating shifting to utilizing strong state applied sciences to create a MacBook Pro keyboard with extra versatility than a bodily model can ever present.

The newly granted patent, “Keyless keyboard with force sensing and haptic feedback,” was initially filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2017. It successfully describes changing the bodily keys of a keyboard with a glass show outfitted with a number of contact sensing programs.

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Apple’s software claims conventional key-based inputs “lack the flexibility to accommodate expansive features offered by newer devices, operating systems, and software,” and are “unable to adapt to different user needs and preferences.” While touchscreen inputs have the potential for providing different inputs to the consumer, the “flat, inflexible input surface” offers little or no tactile suggestions to the consumer.

Apple’s proposal consists of a prime glass layer that features two drive sensing programs for various “input regions,” in addition to a contact sensing system for figuring out the placement of the consumer’s fingers. Haptic suggestions is supplied by a number of actuators, to offer a response for every key “press.”

Images provided within the submitting depict a keyboard peripheral that makes use of a protracted contact panel the place the important thing photographs seem. There can be an outline of a pocket book that appears to have all the decrease part, usually reserved for the keyboard and the trackpad, changed by a single massive panel.

In each circumstances, the keyless keyboard adjustments what’s proven relying on the consumer’s want. This can embrace exhibiting a trackpad space in the course of the keyboard, and rearranging the format to 1 that’s extra ergonomic for the consumer’s hand positioning.

As a byproduct, using a software-defined keyboard format opens up the potential of simplifying localization of Apple’s {hardware}, as the identical keyboard might be used for any language. The flexibility might additionally permit for distinctive inputs for particular apps that aren’t keyboard associated, similar to sliders or different forms of controls.

Apple has regarded into different methods for its prospects to make use of future MacBooks with out utilizing a bodily keyboard. In 2018, as an illustration, it obtained a patent for “Dual display equipment with enhanced visibility and suppressed reflections,” the place the second display screen is used as a dynamic keyboard.

The idea can be not restricted to dual-display units, as one other patent software was found in October 2017 detailing “Electronic Devices with Displays” that might be folded in half. A versatile portion in the course of the show would permit it to fold, successfully permitting an iPad-style machine to be formed just like a pocket book, with the software program keyboard residing on one of many two flat sections.

Apple is thought for submitting massive numbers of patent purposes for potential merchandise, lots of which don’t find yourself being utilized in shopper merchandise. While it’s doable Apple might implement such a keyless keyboard system in a future product, it stays too early to inform if it’ll occur.



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