Apple’s newest and thinnest laptop, the MacBook, has a keyboard with a mechanism in which its keys have nearly no depth, meaning that the device can be thinner than ever.
Apple might be considering killing off the laptop keyboard entirely, and moving to a completely flat touch surface, according to a patent it filed last fall that was published on Thursday.
The invention published on Thursday is more like the “Force Touch” trackpads that Apple has included on recent MacBooks that rely on haptic technology.
This patent takes that idea to the next level, and seems to indicate that this kind of haptic technology can be configured for a laptop keyboard, a number pad, or a track pad, all with the same general input structure.
Apple even says that “Micro-perforations” in the casing may be able to light up to give the user the guidelines of a keyboard without the battery drain of a full touchscreen.
Of course, Apple patents stuff all the time, and there’s no guarantee that a patent will eventually become a product or a feature.
Given Apple’s investment in zero-travel trackpads, there’s certainly a possibility that it will consider using that technology for keyboards and other input devices, and Apple has filed for similar “Force touch” keyboards in the past.