Apple is working on a new keyboard with dynamic key functions; Patent suggests keys could display animation, video
Apple could be working on dynamic backlit keyboard technology that allows keys to perform multiple functions instead of being tied to just one. A new patent filed by the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant hints at a future MacBook that could feature a keyboard with changing key functions that light up based on context. The underlying LEDs could even display animation and video above the keys. The existing backlighting technology in keyboards only serves to illuminate the intended key function.
According to a report in Patently Apple, the US Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday issued an Apple patent that specifically deals with the keyboard mechanism. The patent mentions that the keys would be partially made of aluminum and would feature dynamic lettering, or “glyphs”, which would light up according to the corresponding function.
“More specifically, the present embodiments relate to keycaps having lightable glyphs that are selectively visible or invisible to the naked eye,” the report states. The patent mentions that the future Apple keyboard could have perforations on the keys through which an array of LED lights could illuminate changing symbols, numbers and letters by selectively illuminating specific perforations.
Such a dynamic keyboard could also allow users to completely change the keyboard layout or even switch to another language. Additionally, the report states that key LEDs can be controlled to display animations, information, or even video on a specific key or group of keys.
Apple noted in its patent application that its keyboard would have several advantages over existing backlit keyboards. Current keys are mostly plastic and usually have painted or coated letters or symbols. Repeated use of the keyboard causes the coat to fade over time. An aluminum key would represent a much higher quality, while changing the LED glyphs would eliminate the problem of key symbols fading.
Apple had used its much-maligned butterfly keyboard on MacBooks from 2015 to 2019. Earlier this year, the company paid $50 million (about Rs 414 crore) to settle a class action lawsuit over its faulty MacBook keyboards. The company now offers the Magic Keyboard on its MacBooks.
Leave a Reply