Apple patents 'reconfigurable' keyboard with individual display for each key
Apple has patented a new "reconfigurable" keyboard that features a small display for each key, allowing the keyboard to show different characters and functions as per the user's preferences. The patent suggests that Apple may consider using this new technology for built-in keyboards offered on MacBooks as well as standalone keyboards that are available with Macintosh desktops. Here are more details.
The patent was filed in 2019
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple had filed the patent on December 17, 2019 and it was approved on December 29, 2020. The patent number is 10579157 and you can view the full details here (https://bit.ly/383t8R4).
Keys will offer dynamic labels
According to the patent, the new keyboard will look similar to existing ones with physical keys. However, the keys could be made of ceramic, glass, sapphire, plastic, or metal. It will house a tiny OLED display for each key with transparent key caps to dynamically change labels for each key depending on your preference or an app you are using.
You will be able to switch between different languages
With dynamic labels on offer, you will be able to set up different keyboard layouts or instantly switch between language formats, say an English-language format and Hindi-language format. You will also be able to select specific layout for games, video/photo editing, and other apps. In some cases, the labels could change automatically, depending on the app/software you are using - similar to Touch Bar.
When will Apple add this technology to a real product?
While Apple often registers new patents, it doesn't mean that a piece of technology will be incorporated to a real product soon. But surely, the patent is a good indication that the company is working on new designs and applications for the keyboard to offer a new experience to the user.