The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent application filed by Apple in September 2011 (via AppleInsider), detailing a new keyboard that includes inputs for both traditional mechanical keystrokes along with a new touch-sensitive interface laid over each individual key.

The so-called "Fusion keyboard" would be able to detect the traditional swipe and zoom inputs of a MacBook trackpad, simply spread across the touch-sensitive interface of individual keys. The keyboard - noted to be both an integrated or external accessory, meaning the feature could come to both iMac and MacBook - could also allow for a sort of multi-touch input, meaning a user could simultaneously type something with their left hand while using a touch gesture for cursor control, for example, with the other.

keyboard patent
Notably, the new keyboard patent also includes two-position mechanical switches that perform certain tasks at different levels of pressure, unlike the single-position design of not only the Mac line but most keyboards used today. The first level of pressure could act as a normal text input, while the second level could generate some alternative command similar to that of a mouse click. Although no indication of increased forceful pressure is described in the new patent, the two-position switches do sound akin to Apple's new Force Touch technology which debuted on the Apple Watch and is now found on the company's MacBook trackpad.

Although Apple debuted a new kind of lighter butterfly mechanism keyboard with the new 12-inch Retina MacBook, the patent described today could be aimed at either the beefier line of MacBook Pro and iMac models, or some unannounced update yet to come. Like with every other patent, it'll be quite a long time before we see any tangible manifestations of today's patent, if ever, but it's still an intriguing glimpse at the company's possible future.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

cmichaelb Avatar
91 months ago
They need to go back to the drawing board and replace the new keyboard that's on the MacBook. The lack of travel on those keys makes it extremely difficult to type on. I'm surprised that design actually made it into a product that shipped.

Have you actually tried the keyboard? How does it feel?

I actually prefer the new keyboard - it felt fantastic to type on. there's an adjustment, definitely, but within a few minutes I was loving it.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StrangeNoises Avatar
91 months ago
Have you actually tried the new MacBook keyboard? How does it feel?

Speaking as someone who loves buckling springs most, and is slumming it with a matias tactile pro on my desktop now...

I'm fine with it. When I tried it at the Apple Store, yes, the action was very light, the travel was very short, and I wasn't at all sure, but when I looked back over several paragraphs of touch typing and saw *zero* errors, I reckoned I had something to think about. I don't get zero errors on the Matias...

I think, although the action is very light, the actual actuation is nice and sharp and well defined, not at all the kind of spongy, squidgy mess you get from dirt cheap keyboards that are hell to type on.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dayv Avatar
91 months ago
Have you actually tried the [new MacBook] keyboard? How does it feel?

I have. It's definitely different, but I found it quite easy to get used to and am starting to prefer it to that of my MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro keys now feel small and squishy, by comparison.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sracer Avatar
91 months ago
I actually prefer the new keyboard - it felt fantastic to type on. there's an adjustment, definitely, but within a few minutes I was loving it.
I had a brief time to try the new keyboard... I thought it was great to type on. But then again I'm one of those weirdos who greatly dislikes mechanical keyboards that seem to be all the rage these days.

I've spent DECADES using mechanical keyboards and found the Macbook keyboards to be superior and the newest one the best yet.

Using a mechanical keyboard is like running a 440 with ankle weights.

now get off my lawn!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
k1121j Avatar
91 months ago
ohh!!! push hard for caps that would be cool
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
avanpelt Avatar
91 months ago
They need to go back to the drawing board and replace the new keyboard that's on the MacBook. The lack of travel on those keys makes it extremely difficult to type on. I'm surprised that design actually made it into a product that shipped.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...