It was recently learned that Apple has filed a patent that could help make their uber-thin Macbooks that much thinner–one that removes that need for physical keyboard keys.
The patent outlines what appears to be a full touchpad in place of where the keyboard otherwise sits. Filed under the name ‘Zero Travel’, it could indicate some sort of large touchpad, exhibiting properties similar to their Force Touch trackpads currently being used on their MacBook and MacBook Pro.
The patent filing also indicates the presence of tiny perforations in the keyboard, which could indicate the outline of individual keys while also replacing conventional key backlighting.
Whether this innovation finds its way into Apple’s forthcoming products is virtually impossible to say, guarded as the company’s future product strategies are. But if it does, such a feature could point to something even more exciting–the possibility of re-mapping the entire keyboard area depending on the application being used. For example, in an image editing app the quick shortcut keys could be rendered in different colors as compared to while browsing where a large part of this keyboard could be dedicated to scrolling, zooming and the like.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what Apple has in mind for implementing their version of ‘typing on glass’, a user experience that hasn’t at all been implemented effectively as yet.
View the entire patent filing at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website here.