Apple patent points directly to MacBook keys that change dynamically as every single key becomes ‘an any key’.
Apple Patent Points Directly To MacBook Keys That Change Dynamically
Apple for its next trick might be working on keyboards for its MacBooks that will change the functionality and appearance of their keys dynamically, but depending on the context, so, the A key instantly could transform to a 9 key, for instance.
This is coming from a patent that is spotted by Patently Apple via 9to5Mac, outlining a keyboard that would reportedly have a flexible backlining system that could display just about any symbol on any key. Keys specifically with “illuminable glyphs that are selectively visible or invisible to an unaided human eye”.
Apple at the moment uses keyboards with static, pre-printed labels that cannot be changed. Some keys however that have more than one usage, such as the media playback keys, have many labels on them so it’s very much clear as to what they do.
The hardware essentially described by the patent involves keys with a matrix of individual pixels than can easily be turned on or off as required by the situation, making use of finely tuned micro-LED or OLED components that apple is familiar with from the device’s displays.
How the Whole Thing Works
The end result reportedly would be “glyphs that are changeable or adjustable between different shapes, letters, colors, symbols, animations, languages, and other features”, so a keyboard could be used for typing and then immediately switched to offer users shortcut controls for video editing for example.
Does This Mean That There Is an End Product in Sight?
And as always with patent applications, this does not suggest that we are anywhere close to an end product, or even one that will get made eventually, but it however does show that apple is exploring in terms of future hardware innovations.