A new patent demonstrates Apple's interest in truly customizable keyboards

apple keyboard patent customized travel macbook pro 13 ret 2015 keyboard2
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Apple is having an event on October 27 where it will most likely be showing off the next generation of MacOS hardware. Companies like Apple are never satisfied with this generation of products, however — on October 28, Apple employees will be back to working on what is coming in the future. One way to get a glimpse of what is on their minds is to keep an eye out for new patent applications.

On Thursday, a new Apple patent was discovered that would create customizable key travel and feel in future MacBook keyboards, as Patently Apple reports. Apple arguably makes some of the best keyboards in the PC world, at least on their MacBook Air and Pro lines, but at the same time, their MacBook keyboard has been far less appreciated. The problem with the MacBook’s keyboard is that it offers very short travel and a relatively harsh feel for someone who is used to a springier touch.

That is where the new patent would come in. Basically, Apple envisions a keyboard mechanism that would use electromechanical concepts to allow variation in keyboard travel based on user preference. Like softer keyboards with a shorter throw? Go into settings and make an adjustment. Prefer longer travel and a more mechanical feel? Then tell the machine and it will oblige.

apple-keyboard-patent-actuator-2

The patent introduces a few new keyboard components, including electromechanical actuators to allow for real-time tactile and mechanical adjustments. The patent also considers the need to create a new way to register keyboard presses that can decouple the physical press of a key from the electrical contact that registers input with today’s keyboards.

At the same time, the new mechanism would also allow for application-specific keyboard response. Special function keys relevant to, say, a word-processing application, could provide a different feel in response to an available action. Font-specific key combinations, for example, could become easier or harder to press when a word is highlighted.

Ultimately, as with all patent applications, this one may never see the light of day. Or, we could be looking forward to 2018’s MacBook Pro lineup with a fully customizable keyboard that anticipates our needs and responds with just the right tactile feedback. In any case, it is clear Apple intends to continue innovating in the MacOS hardware space and that is a good thing for every PC user.

Product Review

Razer just made our favorite gaming laptop even more powerful than before

The Razer Blade, our favorite gaming laptop, is now more powerful than ever before. That’s thanks to the new Nvidia RTX graphics cards inside. Do they help Razer retain its edge over the competition?
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Computing

Apple may go big with a redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro, 31.6-inch 6K display

In a research note, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo writes that there are indications the company could be releasing a 16-inch MacBook Pro, as well as a 31.6-inch 6K display in 2019.
Computing

These Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts will take your skills to a new level

Windows 10 has many new features, and they come flanked with useful new keyboard shortcuts. Check out some of the new Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save more time!
Mobile

How to perform a reverse image search in Android or iOS

You can quickly use Google to search, and reverse search, images on a PC or laptop, but did you know it's almost as easy to do in Android and iOS? We explain how to do it here, whether you want to use Chrome or a third-party app.
Mobile

Be careful who you bokeh, jokes Apple’s latest iPhone ad

With iPhone sales under pressure, you'd think there wouldn't be much to laugh about at Apple HQ. But the company has seen fit to inject some humor into its latest handset ad, which highlights the camera's Depth Control feature.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.
Mobile

Flip from portrait to landscape as we reveal how to rotate a video on iPhone

If you've accidentally shot a video in portrait orientation and you want to flip to landscape, then this is the guide for you. We'll explain how to use iMovie to rotate a video on your iPhone or iPad for free and suggest alternative apps.
Mobile

The 2019 iPhone could put a charge into your other Apple gadgets

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for February 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Deals

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for February 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for February 2019.