Prepare to Be Amazed: Exploring Apple's Dynamic Key Patent

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Prepare to Be Amazed: Exploring Apple's Dynamic Key Patent (Image: Apple)
Prepare to Be Amazed: Exploring Apple's Dynamic Key Patent (Image: Apple)

Delhi : Apple may be developing dynamically changing keyboards for its MacBooks that, depending on the situation, modify the keys' appearance and functioning. For example, A key may suddenly become a 9 key.

This is from a patent for a keyboard that would have a flexible backlighting system that could display any symbol on any key, as discovered by Patently Apple (via 9to5Mac). keys with "illuminable glyphs that are selectively visible or invisible to an untrained human eye," must be precise

Of course, Apple now employs keyboards with fixed, pre-printed labels that cannot be modified. The media playback keys, for example, have various labels so it's apparent what they perform. Some keys have more than one use.

Changeable glyphs

The hardware detailed in the patent essentially consists of keys with a matrix of individual pixels that can be turned on or off as necessary, utilising precisely tuned micro-LED or OLED components that Apple is familiar with from its device displays.

In the end, "glyphs that are changeable or adaptable between different forms, letters, colours, symbols, animations, languages, and other features" would be produced; for example, a keyboard may be used for typing and then switched to provide shortcut controls for video editing.

This shows what Apple is studying in terms of potential future hardware advances, but as is always the case with patent applications, it doesn't imply that we're even close to an end product or that one will ever be produced.

Evaluation: A more adaptable keyboard

It's clear that Apple wants to update the technology used in its MacBooks: just a few days ago, we learned that the company was developing a laptop with a single 20-inch folding display, the keyboard on one side, and the traditional "screen" on the other.

Though not nearly as spectacular, this most recent patent application makes a lot of sense. On macOS, imagine having keys that could change quickly to perform different tasks based on what was happening. You could have multiple layouts for online browsing, photo editing, gaming, and a lot more.

Not to mention the versatility it would provide for typing in many languages. When a certain collection of functions is needed, scientists and mathematicians would also find it useful to have access to them. When these functions are no longer needed, a button click will restore the layout to its original state.

Of course, all of this would be expensive, so Apple's laptop pricing might increase as a result. It might initially be an optional bonus, but like with any patent, we'll have to wait and see if it ever materialises.