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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple a patent for a low-travel keyboard design with Force Touch-like sensors that measure the pressure placed on a key when a user presses or rests a finger on it.

Force-Touch-Keyboard-Patent.jpg

As summarized by AppleInsider, the exhaustive patent filing details how the keyboard would have a switch-less QWERTY input mechanism, rather than mechanical switches, allowing for less key travel and potentially thinner Mac keyboards.
Apple's current MacBook and Mac accessory lineups employ modified scissor switches, or butterfly switches on the 12-inch Retina MacBook, nestled within hollow key caps. Today's patent mirrors the aesthetic of existing designs, but deviates from established technology by replacing mechanical switches for a stack of sensors, actuators and supporting circuitry.

Theoretically the system operates akin to Apple's Force Touch trackpads, but on a much larger scale; one force sensor package for each keyboard key. Force sensors configured to measure downward pressure are integrated beneath the keyboard's key caps, while integrated actuators -- part of the key stack -- generate haptic feedback.
The patent filing does not guarantee that Apple will release a Force Touch keyboard, but a pressure-sensitive keyboard is plausible alongside the Magic Trackpad and Force Touch trackpads on MacBooks.

Apple's new Retina MacBook has been criticized by some over its all-new butterfly mechanism keyboard, which has low key travel, so whether Apple implements this new keyboard design into the rest of its MacBook lineup remains to be seen.

Apple was granted U.S. Patent No. 9,178,509, and credits Jeffrey T. Bernstein as its inventor.

Article Link: Apple Patents Switch-Less Force Touch Keyboard, Could Lead to Thinner Macs
 
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ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68040
Dec 31, 2007
3,100
2,724
Milwaukee Area
They're getting everyone closer and closer to touch typing... eventually they'll get everyone to the point where they can get away with making the base a big iPad with little haptic "bumps" to center your fingertips while typing, and then enable applications to finally have their own control surfaces and move beyond the typewriter UI.

Everyone assumes the touchscreen should go up top like a Surface Book, but it'd be far more useful and ergonomic on the horizontal base.
 
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Quu

macrumors 68040
Apr 2, 2007
3,064
5,363
The Macbook keyboard feels awful (and I'm sure I'll get some heat for saying so on here) so I hope this new patent if it gets used by Apple results in a better typing experience when dealing with such a thin keyboard structure.

EDIT:// Just to stop any confusion from people replying to me, I am referring to only the 12" Retina MacBook keyboard and not the Airs or Pro notebooks which have perfectly fine keyboards in my opinion.
 
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furi0usbee

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2008
1,781
1,264
The Macbook keyboard feels awful (and I'm sure I'll get some heat for saying so on here) so I hope this new patent if it gets used by Apple results in a better typing experience when dealing with such a thin keyboard structure.

I have the original rMBP 15" and I've never had an issue with the keyboard. But, I did have the entire top replaced, so I did essentially get a new keyboard last year. But I have no problems.

I tried typing on a Toshiba with flat, glossy plastic keys. Wow.
 
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Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
4,057
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They're getting everyone closer and closer to touch typing... eventually they'll get everyone to the point where they can get away with make the base a big iPad with little haptic "bumps" to center your fingertips while typing, and then enable applications to finally have their own control surfaces and move beyond the typewriter UI.

Everyone assumes the touchscreen should go up top like a Surface Book, but it'd be far more useful and ergonomic on the horizontal base.

If some people type like me, i.e. HAMMER style there will be a lot of injuries and bruised fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome like and Apple will say:

You are typing wrong!

and please give your heart a push Apple: numeric keyboard. Please!
 
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2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
3,327
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Thinness...where will it end?

Sometimes I think Apple can't wait for the day when they can replace the the keyboard and trackpad with an iOS-enabled glass slab.
It is a fact that moving parts have a higher failure rate than non-moving parts. So yeah, getting rid of HDD and moving keys make the computer last longer. But there may be additional benefits, like more water proof since there are less openings (except for the lonely USB-C port). And maybe they can make each key a screen so you can actually change they keyboard like you can do on the Ipad virtual one. I do think there are a lot of possibilities that can be explored here. The long throw of the old keyboard was based on the typewriter and I think it is okay for all of us to move on from a hundred year old standard.
 
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