Apple may be preparing to take typing to the next level, with plans to make a keyboard that could adaptively change its keys as needed.
With the rise of mobile computing, tables and smartphones, people are expecting devices to be more versatile. It’s no longer enough to have a computer that sits on a desk at home or at the office. Instead, people rely on their devices for work, communication, entertainment, learning and more.
Apple may be preparing to take that versatility to the next level, working on a keyboard with dynamic key labels, if a newly filed patent is any indication. First noticed by Patently Apple, the patent is entitled “Electronic devices having keys with coherent fiber bundles.”
The patent’s Abstract outlines what Apple may be working on:
An electronic device may have a reconfigurable keyboard. The keyboard may be formed from an array of keys coupled to a housing. Each key may have a movable key member and an associated key display. Control circuitry in the keyboard may direct the key displays to display dynamically adjustable key labels for the keys. Each key movable key member may be formed from a fiber optic plate. The fiber optic plate may be formed from a coherent fiber bundle with opposing first and second surfaces. The first surface may be adjacent to the key display and may receive key label images from the key display. The second surface may face outwardly towards a user and may receive key press input from the fingers of a user while presenting key label images for viewing.
This kind of adaptive, configurable keyboard could be a big help to gamers, multi-language typists, as well as anyone using custom software that has specific keyboard requirements.