Apple‘s already replaced the clicky trackpad in some of its MacBook models with a Force Touch version. Now it turns out the company may be planning to do the same thing to its laptop keyboard as well.
A recently published Apple patent describes a new “force-sensitive input structure for electronic devices.” Essentially, it’s a flat metal surface with sensors underneath that can tell where you’re pressing and how hard. The layout could also be easily reconfigured and optimized to match whatever you’re doing, whether that’s gaming, coding or writing.
Apple also notes that removing all those small moving pieces would reduce the risk of breaking your laptop. The design might also include “micro-perforations” where light could shine through to outline the keys. This would presumably use a lot less battery than a full-sized touchscreen.
This may all sound pretty far out, but it’s actually not much of a stretch from Apple’s current lineup. The company seems determined to eliminate as many physical buttons and ports as possible to offer a slimmer and simpler design. A keyboard-less MacBook is an obvious step in that exact direction.
This is just a patent, though, so there’s no guarantee Apple’s gotten any further than the sketches above. Still, it’s interesting to see where the company may be headed in the next few years.