Apple Patent Filing Envisions a MacBook With Virtual Keyboard, Invisible Trackpad

A trio of patent applications from Apple envisions a MacBook Pro without the glass trackpad. Instead, the patent envisions a MacBook Pro where the whole area below the keyboard can be turned into a trackpad.

Apple also describes a MacBook without an actual physical keyboard. Instead, it envisions a MacBook featuring a body enclosure for the MacBook with a transparent top made from glass or plastic and sensors underneath it which can automatically detect where and when a user’s fingers are touching the surface and the amount of force being applied.

A portable computer includes a display portion comprising a display, a base portion pivotally coupled to the display portion and including a glass top case. The glass top case defines an exterior surface and a keyboard opening through the glass top case from the exterior surface to an interior surface. The portable computer further includes a keyboard positioned at least partially within the keyboard opening and comprising a substrate, a key configured to move relative to the substrate, and a fabric cover disposed over the key and defining a user interface surface of the key.

There can also be a display underneath the transparent top that can be used for illumination or adding glyphs to keys depending on the language selected. Depending on the application, the keyboard can also show other buttons or controls. The patent also describes that the keys can be used for gestures like one does one a Magic Trackpad or a Magic Mouse.

Apple has filed a suit of patents earlier as well where it has envisioned a MacBook with a virtual keyboard. Given the company’s efforts in this space, it is possible that down the line, we will see the company unveil a MacBook Pro without a physical keyboard. Instead, the whole keyboard area will be one giant screen with haptic feedback support to emulate the feeling of pressing a physical key. A virtual keyboard will allow the keyboard to display some handy options and toggles depending on the app being used.

[Via Apple Insider]