Apple has filed a new patent which outlines the specifications of a new so-called Hybrid Keyboard which combines touch-based inputs and keystrokes into a single user input ultimately eliminating the need of a trackpad on a future MacBook.
The patent, originally named Fusion Keyboard, describes different features of a keyboard which only has keys to perform both the touch-based inputs and record keystrokes to perform various operations. The patent shows some interesting things like how it works and how users will be able to use the keyboard for touch gesture controls etc.
Trackpad on any laptop takes reasonable amount of space. Eliminating trackpad will help laptop manufacturers achieve two things – to reduce the overall laptop size and to allow more space for keyboard so that the keys can spread to a wider region which will ultimately make typing easier. Another hidden advantage of the Fusion Keyboard is that users will be able to work even faster by saving those few seconds they spent while switching from keyboard to trackpad and vice versa.
In the patent, Apple has described why it took such unorthodox approach for a keyboard. According to Apple, there have been many attempts and changes made by many manufacturers to replace the standard keyboard but all have failed to do so. There are non-QWERTY keyboards, curved keyboards, split design keyboard etc. but all failed to replace the conventional mechanical keyboard. So, instead of replacing it, Apple is going to enhance its functionality by putting touch gestures functionality into it.
Filing a patent for such technology doesn’t mean that it will go in production in the upcoming months. But the idea behind the Fusion Keyboard looks more promising than any other previous attempts made to replace the traditional mechanical keyboard.