As far as we can tell, Apple is still committed to developing a glass keyboard for the iPad Pro and MacBook. In 2016, Apple announced a new MacBook that included a touch bar on the keyboard. However, it was discarded in later versions. A recent patent suggests Apple is thinking about developing a more robust model with a glass body and more natural keyboard input.
As noted by Patently Apple, the most recent submission concerns a keyboard input device that does not need any moving parts and can be used with any piece of Apple gear. It’s worth pointing out that this gadget diverges from a previous Apple concept of a conventional keyboard with a hybrid docking mechanism for use with a tablet.
According to the drawings included in the patent, the keyless keyboard will be integrated into the iPad’s shell or cover. What’s fascinating about this gadget is the suite of uses it can be put to, such as transforming the keyboard into a responsive display or letting users make virtual adjustments and turning it into a massive touchpad.
Apple hopes that its new haptics features will make typing feel more as it does on mechanical keyboards. The invention relies on haptic actuators, which provide tactile feedback whenever the user presses a virtual button. In addition to touch sensing, Apple will also include force sensing technology, which will be used to distinguish between accidental presses and intended inputs.
With a MacBook, for example, it will function as a secondary display at the bottom, creating a two-screen design. Instead of a complete folding mechanism like the Asus ZenBook Fold 17, a 360-degree rotating hinge would make this device more akin to the Microsoft Surface Duo 2.