The latest patent to surface from the Cupertino camp shows Apple has been working on a physical keyboard that does away with physical keys. That’s right — a keyboard, much like the one you might have in front of you now, but without keys. Instead, you’ll use piezoelectrics, haptic feedback and acoustic pulse recognition to type.
They keyboard Apple illustrated in its patent in completely flat and has keys either painted on its surface or displayed as graphics on a display screen below the surface. It sports the same keyboard layout we’ve all become accustomed to over the years, but it won’t simply be a touch panel that offers a virtual keyboard like that within iOS.
Apple agrees that a touch-sensitive keyboard like this wouldn’t work, as they often fail to distinguish between a user’s typing and when they’re just leaning on the surface accidentally, and they also don’t provide any feedback to the user to alert them that they’ve touched a key. To solve this problem, Apple’s keyboard uses a haptic or tactile feedback mechanism located below the glass surface that enables the users to ‘feel’ each key as they’re typing.
It’s worth noting, however, that these patents are by no means a guarantee of the things that will come from Apple in the future. But they’re a good indication of the things Apple is working on.
[via Razorian Fly]