Apple was granted a patent for a hybrid keyboard with touch-sensitive keys
Apple was granted a patent on Tuesday for a hybrid keyboard with touch-sensitive keys allowing for a dual purpose keyboard that basically houses touch sensors above the mechanical keys. This allows users to carry out multitouch gestures and enter keystrokes without having the need to remove their hands from the keyboard. The touch-sensitive surface of the keyboard allows users to perform gestures like taps and swipes just in the same way as the new MacBook touchpad.
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Various input functionalities include click, scroll, drag, select, zoom, and more just by moving your fingers over the layout of those touch-sensitive keys. Interestingly, input is processed differently for each user’s hand. That means that while you are entering text data with one hand, the other hand can manage cursor control. This allows the users to perform gestures and move onscreen cursor simultaneously. And since the touch sensors on top of the mechanical keys are depressible to two more levels, pressing down a key to the first level will allow for a conventional text output whereas pressing down to the second level will generate an all new command signal. This tactile key press experience is achieved through a double-dome switch. There is still no news as to when Apple plans to officially release the new keyboard.
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This patent had been filed by the company back in 2011. However, with the ever shrinking macbook designs like the all new MacBook with Retina display, this hybrid keyboard solution could compliment the future MacBooks perfectly.