Apple Patent Future MacBook Keyboards

By Mahnoor Mushtaq - Dec 18, 2022

Apple is experimenting with creating a perforated aluminum keyboard chassis and keycaps with LED arrays that can modify the content displayed on each key. Apple has a fresh concept for how to make laptop keyboards more functional and adaptable. Even though Apple's track record with MacBook keyboards could be better, the new idea seems unique and intriguing. Apple has applied for a patent on a keyboard that would completely alter the way we type. This week, the US Patent and Trademark Office released a new patent application that discloses Apple is developing a system that would enable future keyboards to show different symbols based on the circumstances.

Transformative Technology

Currently, Apple's MacBook keyboards' backlighting technology does nothing more than make the keys visible in low light. The keys' labels are static, pre-printed symbols that cannot be modified and may become worn with repeated use. The keyboard's backlighting would then be able to intelligently illuminate each key to display a variety of symbols and letters. When the keyboard is turned on, light that passes through the keycaps from beneath their top surfaces may cause the glyphs for each keycap to show on the keys.

Apple Patent Future MacBook Keyboards

The displays under each keycap may give the impression that the glyphs are floating. Unlike traditional keyboards, where light often leaks between neighboring keycaps or is visible between or below the keycaps, the displays' entire output of light may be directed through the top of the keycaps to form the glyphs.

The keyboard could alter what is shown on the critical cap if the user needed access to symbols, emojis, or punctuation. Imagine it as a physical keyboard that behaves like the software keyboard on an iPhone, changing what is displayed depending on the situation. Each key would function as a low-resolution display, demonstrating the required letter or character.

In a different scenario, the light source is an "array of LEDs, such as a display using micro-LED or OLED pixels." In this case, the number of keycap perforations might match the number of pixels on display, allowing each pixel to illuminate a single keycap perforation. Under the aluminum key plate, a mini-LED or comparable lighting would be used to achieve this. To enable each LED to light through the top of the key cap, each key would have perforations precisely carved into it.


Mahnoor Mushtaq

I basically spend most of my time writing articles on any kind of niche but in my free time, I research different topics to enlighten my knowledge.