AppleInsider is reporting that they have found a patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, entitled “Input Devices and Methods of Operation”. As keyboards get smaller and thinner, some users may be put off by the tactile feel of new, thinner keys. To fix this, Apple would build proximity sensors into each […]
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Apple Looking Into Keyboards with Proximity Sensors, Tactile Feedback

AppleInsider is reporting that they have found a patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, entitled “Input Devices and Methods of Operation”.

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As keyboards get smaller and thinner, some users may be put off by the tactile feel of new, thinner keys. To fix this, Apple would build proximity sensors into each individual key, so then each key would know when it was about to e struck.

Now here’s where it get’s interesting and/or weird. With these sensors in place, the keyboard could allow air pressure to build under the key, so as it is being struck, it creates a tactile feedback. A second proposed system would take a more pneumatic form, in which the selected key would be “pulled away from the user.”

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The patent describes a scenario in which both methods could be used simultaneously, to create, for lack of a better term, air resistance, to create the feeling that they key is actually heavier and deeper than it actually is.

I don’t think Apple is going for “IBM Model M” type feel for the keys, but it’s their attention to details like this, that makes Apple, Apple. Will we ever see this idea implemented in future products? Who knows.

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