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Apple planning ‘keyless’ MacBook keyboard based on haptic feedback

APPLE IS DEVELOPING a ‘keyless’ MacBook keyboard based on haptic feedback, according to patents filed by the company.

Discovered by the folks at Patently Apple, the patent suggests the Cupertino-based technology giant wants to make its MacBook products even slimmer by offering a “keyless” keyboard that people doesn’t require keys to be pressed down (similar to the Sinclair ZX-81, perhaps).

While this is not the first time Apple has relied on haptic feedback (think of the company’s similar trackpad tech in its MacBook laptops or its home button in iPhone devices), the patent goes one step further by providing haptic feedback based on where the user is pressing.

If this is true, it would mean that the keyboard will vibrate at specific points to give users the illusion of pressing an actual key. 

Nevertheless, it’s always best to take Apple’s patent news with a pinch of salt. Apple, like many companies, often files patents for product designs that never make it to market – but which keep it covered if a rival brings out a product that looks or seems similar.

Late last year, the company filed an application for a US patent on a foldable electronic device with a flexible display back, a sign that the company could be plotting to take on Samsung’s long-rumoured flexible smartphone – or just that it plans to re-open legal hostilities at the first sign of a product release. 

The application stated that the technology is related to any kind of electronic device that has a display, such as a “laptop computer, a tablet computer, a cellular telephone or a wristwatch”.

Given that it’s unlikely that Apple is plotting a flexible MacBook or iPad, this application hints that a flexible iPhone could be in the works, especially as – just hours before the firm’s iPhone X launch earlier this year – Samsung announced plans to release a foldable smartphone this year. µ

Source : Inquirer

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