Apple Is Working on a Reconfigurable Keyboard for MacBook

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While MacBooks have been a pretty popular notebook for both casual and professional users, one major complaint users had was about the finicky keyboards of the devices. Apple addressed this by updating its MacBook line with a new and improved Magic Keyboard. However, it seems like Apple is not done with improving its keyboard. A recent patent hints that the Cupertino tech giant is working on a unique keyboard with reconfigurable keys.

The patent, “Electronic devices having keys with coherent fiber bundles”, suggests that future Apple keyboards might feature dynamically reconfigurable keys that can be configured as per user needs. It sounds more like the touch bar, but for keys.

This feature will allow you to customize certain keys on your keyboard as per your needs. This way, users will be able to reconfigure their keyboards to support a secondary language or create a custom layout for gaming setups. Wouldn’t that be cool? I will lie if I say this doesn’t excite me. This keyboard can be put to use in a lot of ways, especially by gamers, video editors, and programmers.

How Will It Work?

Now, to implement this feature, Apple is working on, what they are calling, “dynamic labels” for keys. This will be using display components like OLED displays, electrophoretic displays, or any other kind of display components. These dynamic labels will help a user to identify a reconfigured key on the keyboard and use it as an input for a specific function on his/her laptop or desktop.

Apple may also no longer need to produce region-specific systems, as a single keyboard can turn into any regional keyboard on demand. Moreover, this will be hugely helpful for creators and gamers as they can reconfigure a number of keys to perform various functions easily while editing a video or playing a game.

The explanatory diagrams below show that the technology can be integrated into, both the MacBook keyboards as well as the external keyboards for Macs.

Apple patent reconfigurable keyboard macbook
Image via: Patently Apple

However, it is only a patent as of now, and let’s not get our hopes high. Needless to say, the cost of a MacBook with a keyboard such as this can be enormous and end up being more than what people are willing to pay. Nonetheless, it is always good to see Apple working on these kinds of tech for its future products.

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