Future MacBook laptops might get this glass-panel keyboard

(Pocket-lint) – Apple is considering ditching traditional keyboards for glass keyboards.

When it comes to MacBook laptops, Apple has faced heavy criticism in recent years. Some people think their designs are dated, as the general appearance of the machines hasn’t changed in years, and others are annoyed by keyboards, which can easily become clogged with dust or debris. Despite what it may seem today, Apple has not lost all of its capacity for innovation. The company is actively imagining new form factors for the Mac.

Future MacBook laptop keyboards could feature a glass panel in place of the keys – with raised sections to mimic the feel of the chicklet-style keys. As spotted by Apple Insider, a patent application was recently published by the USPTO. Named “Computer with keyboard“, the patent describes a keyboard without moving components. It is a solid sheet of glass with no moving keys, but rather raised sections for the keys.

When the user presses one of the raised key sections, the keyboard will force an entry and the user will feel both tactile and haptic feedback, so that they will know exactly where their fingers are placed. Currently, virtual keyboards on touch screens are difficult to use, as we are used to looking for keys and often rely on how they sink and rise to type quickly.

Without these feelings, we can get lost.

USPTO / Apple

Apple’s glass panel could be a solution, and it would simultaneously be impervious to dust and debris. The patent states that the keys do not move and use curved glass as well as haptic motors. Alternatively, they could use a thinner, flexible glass that can sink in to simulate traditional keystroke. In any case, the keyboard under the glass would be entirely software, so you could change the layout.

We would like to see Apple implement this technology. There’s no need to replace physical keyboards in all MacBook models, but it would be great to get a special one with that kind of innovative thinking applied – if only to test it before a wider rollout. Apple has done this in the past, after all.

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Written by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on .

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