Apple Tipped To Get Rid Of MacBook Keyboards
Apple has just secured a patent on a MacBook with a solid-state keyboard (SSK) – a flat glass surface that can be reconfigured by the user depending on their changing requirements.
Perhaps you’re doing data entry into a spreadsheet, so you’ll need a numpad. Apple’s proposed SSK allows you to add one, and then wipe it away to turn it into a drawing surface for graphic design tasks.
It’s an exciting patent that presents a lot of possibility and versatility for users with multiple needs, but there are some stumbling blocks to be expected for such a major reimagining of the traditional tactile keyboard.
Those who type a lot for a living will feel the pain; touch-typing is crucial to their productivity and it’s tricky to replicate on a flat glass surface. It’s also uncomfortable, presenting potential RSI issues.
On the plus side though, there are some big wins for a solid-state keyboard. Mechanical keyboards wear out with use and are easily damaged by liquids – a spill into a keyboard can damage far more than the typing surface, since vital laptop components are directly underneath the keys – and there’s no way to fully waterproof the internals and still have a functioning keyboard.
This can be avoided altogether with solid-state surface. It’s not exactly waterproofing laptops but it’s a hugely vulnerable component of the machine that would be protected.
This is just a patent though, so MacBooks with SSK won’t necessarily go into production.