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Apple Patents a Responsive Glass Keyboard

Apple's existing keyboard is polarizing with very little travel. But there may be new innovation for future MacBook keyboards. A new Apple patent could deliver good news for people looking for some change.

The patent describes a mechanism through which various layers of glass would be able to shape themselves based on what they’re being used for. Combine that ability with haptic feedback and the end result would be a touchscreen display that could simulate a real keyboard. (Far more info can be found here at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.)

All of the usual caveats about tech parents apply here. Apple might never use this technology in a product, and even if it does, it might not be exactly what people expect. Companies file patents for tech they might be able to use in the future, not just tech they are certain to use in an imminent product. Don’t misread this as “Apple Is Making a Microsoft Courier-Style Device.”

But it would make sense for the company to explore technologies like this. (Not least because its last few attempts to create its own key switches have had some issues.) Switching to this wonder glass could allow for more flexible input methods or devices that don’t fit into the existing categories we have today. Keyboards could take a new form.

Combine that prospect with reports that many companies are working on “foldable” products, and it seems that this could be the type of tech that others may try to emulate.

We do have a parting question, though, which is what could Apple even call a device featuring this technology? iPads? MacPad? iFolio? MacBookPad? iPadBook? Apple Courier? Hats off to the engineering department for designing this tech, but good luck to the marketing department tasked with naming the thing.