Future MacBooks could have trackpads without buttons

MacBook Pro
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Do you like your MacBook’s touchpad? Are you comfortable or even in love with its integrated touchpads? Well, at some point in the future, you might have to learn to live without them, if a new patent filed by and awarded to Apple is any indication.

According to a new patent Apple has acquired courtesy of the U.S. Patent Office, Apple has designs on making a touchpad that ditches integrated buttons. Instead, they would be replaced with force sensors and feature feedback courtesy of an actuator. The sensors and actuator would combine to replicate the behavior of a touchpad with physical buttons built in, like what you’ll find on current MacBooks.

In the touchpad design put forward in the patent, which was originally filed in late 2009, sensors built into the touchpad would read finger movements, while the actuator would replicate the tactile feedback provided by physical buttons in current touchpads. We would hope that such a touchpad would have settings that allow the user to tinker with and customize sensitivity, but it’s unclear whether such a touchpad would grant users the ability to do so.

Don’t get too excited or worried though. Patent filings are as common as incidents of heartburn and, more importantly, companies often file and are granted patents which then collect dust and are never used.

What do you think of this proposed design for a future MacBook touchpad? Sound off in the comments below.