A new patent application from Apple points to a new keyboard structure featuring ingress protection thereby making it crumb/dust and liquid resistant to a certain degree. Apple envisions a keyboard or any other input device with a certain degree of protection by using membranes, gaskets, and even flaps to block gaps and prevent ingress of crumbs, liquid, and other dirt particles that usually find their way inside a keyboard.
While we are still talking about a patent, it is possible that we could see Apple use the tech envisioned in the patent application on its future MacBooks. This is because keyboards on the current MacBook Pros are known to go bonkers if any dust particles get inside them. The issue is fairly common and due to the way the MacBook’s keyboard is designed, the whole thing needs to be replaced which is a fairly expensive process.
In the patent, Apple envisions various embodiments as to how it can add a certain degree of ingress protection to the keys. While most of the embodiments highlight the keyboard as offering ingress protection against dust and crumbles, one does envision the keyboard membrane to be waterproof as well.
Apple’s invention relates to keyboards and/or other input devices that include mechanisms that prevent and/or alleviate contaminant (such as dust, liquid, and so on) ingress. These mechanisms may include membranes or gaskets that block contaminant ingress; structures such as brushes, wipers, or flaps that block gaps around key caps; funnels, skirts, bands, or other guard structures coupled to key caps that block contaminant ingress into and/or direct contaminants away from areas under the key caps; bellows that blast contaminants with forced gas out from around the key caps, into cavities in a substrate of the keyboard, and so on; and/or various active or passive mechanisms that drive contaminants away from the keyboard and/or prevent and/or alleviate contaminant ingress into and/or through the keyboard.
Again, this is just a patent we are talking about here, and it is entirely possible that it could take Apple years to implement this tech into the keyboard it uses on the MacBooks.
Given the design of the keyboard that Apple uses on its MacBook, it is already pretty difficult to get crumbs inside them. However, the company still needs to solve the issue of the keyboard not working properly if a dust particle does manage to get inside it.[Via Patently Apple]