It's fair to say the world has been a strange place these last few months, but that hasn't meant Apple's been resting on its laurels. In fact, it seems the team has been busier than ever with a number of new patents surfacing, offering a glimpse in to what the tech giant has planned for the future.
The most recent is one of the most radical we've seen so far. The MacBook Pro tops our list of the best laptops for graphic design, but who knows if that will still be the case if Apple adopts a new patent that looks set to change its design entirely. The document, titled Device Having Integrated Interface System (opens in new tab), details a laptop that replaces a physical keyboard with a touch-sensitive lower surface.
While it's hard to imagine a MacBook without a physical keyboard, a touch-based surface could potentially open the device up to a much more creative workflow. For example, with the right technology behind it, the lower surface could act as a drawing tablet to use with an Apple Pencil, or offer video and audio editors touch-based controls, including a digital turntable.
Question is, how would this new system offer the ability to type? The patent has that covered too, with details of a physical keyboard (which would no doubt need to be bought separately) that could be laid over the new touch-based lower surface. The pressure of the keys being pressed would work in a similar way to a traditional keyboard design.
We know a lot of Apple patents never see the light of day, and at first we were hoping this might be one of them. However, the more we think about it, the more we're warming to the idea of a device that can be tailored to specific creative workflows. We just hope the butterfly keyboard doesn't make a comeback as part of the plans.
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