Apple patents the keyboard with key features that change dynamically

Apple may be preparing to reinvent the keyboard.

In a patent filing approved Tuesday just below the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s filing deadline for 2020, Apple describes a keyboard whose keys will adapt to the task at hand.

The standard alphanumeric layout, for example, could be turned into a task-specific display in which the keys could be used instead to perform functions. Audio recording enthusiasts can convert their keys into triggers that adjust volume, speed and various special effects. Photo editing programs could assign tools to individual keys and multi-key combinations.

The patent indicates that modifiable key functions would be indicated by “dynamic labels”. These labels, according to a summary posted by this week, “can be generated using dynamically reconfigurable labels that display components such as organic light-emitting diode displays with pixel arrays, electrophoretic displays with pixel arrays, or other pixel arrays. . “

Currently, users can insert silicone pads over keyboards, indicating specialized software functions using key combinations. However, some complain that the mats generate an unnatural feeling when typing, that they have to press harder on the keys and that they cannot type as quickly with the lids.

The dynamic keys proposed by Apple will provide visual and possibly tactile feedback, without diminishing the normal typing experience.

Dynamic keys can be used not only with various work tasks, but also with games. Customizable keyboards would instantly adapt to the properties needed for each game.

Another practical application would allow users to change the keyboard languages ​​from English to, for example, Chinese or Hebrew.

The keys, according to, could be made of glass, ceramic, polymer or sapphire.

The patent was filed under the strange label: “Electronic devices with keys with coherent fiber packages”.

Apple files hundreds of patents each year, many of which never see the light of day in practice.

Apple has focused on keyboards several times over the years. The introduction in 2015 of the “butterfly” keys on MacBooks, which abandoned the scissor-like structure used for a long time under each key, was greeted with a lack of enthusiasm. Users complained that the keys were locked, some generated unintentional multiple presses, and others did not respond at all. Apple continued to use the keyboard until 2019, despite a large number of consumer complaints.

A creative user known for daily writing a song for more than a decade wrote a parody of the song with the keyboard problem in 2017, entitled “I pressed the space bar and nothing happens.”

In May 2019, a lawsuit was filed against Apple, and Apple, following the apologies to the affected users, initiated a free repair program for all MacBook users.

In November, Apple received a patent to bring Force Touch to the MacBook Touch Bar. Force Touch uses sensors to analyze click pressure and determine which finger is being used. The keyboard performs different functions depending on the finger used and the pressure applied. It uses a Taptic motor to provide physical feedback to the user through vibrations.

A patent has also been issued this year for an Apple keyboard that attaches magnetically to a portable device.

Apple can bring Force Touch to the touchpad of the Macbook

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