The current generation Mac trackpad features a glass surface and offers haptic touch. Apple’s latest patent details a new, completely virtual trackpad that will be backlit. Trackpad has changed a lot in the past several years, and the latest virtual trackpad will open up to new features.
Apple’s patent describes a trackpad that is entirely virtual and can be increased or decreased in size. In other words, the trackpad will no more be a fixed area. That apart, the top portion of the new trackpad will feature a screen while the bottom is dedicated to “a dynamic input surface.”
According to the patent, the lower portion will consist of a smaller enclosure that includes a translucent layer. “that defines an active input area and an array of light-extraction features positioned within the active input area.” The keyboard remains placed in the upper portion and is configured for a keypress.
A light-emitting element is placed below the keyboard beneath the translucent layer. The patent claims translucent layer is “configured to propagate light through the translucent layer to the light-extraction features to illuminate the active input area.” The lighting indicates the active input area by transmitting light via the translucent layer. In other words, the backlighting will let users know which area of the trackpad is active and can be used.
The dynamic trackpad is likely to work in the same lines as the Touch Bar. Whenever you are using tools like Adobe Premiere Pro, the trackpad can expand and fill the entire breadth of the Mac. When you are using other tools, the trackpad can shrink to the original size while the rest of the area is deactivated. Users can also choose to customize the size of the trackpad based on their preferences.[via USPTO]