Apple Patent Suggests Dynamically Changing MacBook Keys

For his next tip, Apple could be working on keyboards for its MacBooks that dynamically change the look and functionality of their keys, depending on the context — so the A key could instantly turn into a 9 key, for example.

That’s according to a patent identified by Patently Apple, which describes a keyboard witha flexible backlight system that can display any symbol on any key. Specifically, keys with “lightable glyphs that are selectively visible or invisible to an unaided human eye“.

For now, of course, Apple uses keyboards with static, pre-printed labels that cannot be changed. Some keys that have more than one use, such as the media playback keys, are provided with multiple labels so that their function is clear.

Essentially, the hardware described by the patent involves keys with an array of individual pixels that can be turned on or off as needed, using finely tuned micro-LED or OLED components that Apple is familiar with for displays. of its devices.

The end result would be “glyphs that can be changed or adjusted between different shapes, letters, colors, symbols, animations, languages, and other features“. Thereby, a keyboard could be used for typing, then changed to offer shortcut commands for video editingfor instance.

Just a patent

As always with patent applications, this doesn’t suggest we’re anywhere near a final product, or that it will eventually be made – but it does show what Apple is exploring in terms of future hardware innovations.

It sure looks like Apple is seeing a shake-up in the technology of its MacBooks: just a few days ago we heard of plans for a laptop that’s a single foldable 20-inch screen, with the keyboard to one side and the classic “screen” on the other.

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