Tech giant Apple may be planning to make its MacBooks thinner. Apple recently filed a patent with USPTO, which hints at a new, retractable keyboard design. The device mentioned in the patent will come with an enclosure inside which there will be a space for the keyboard. Apple’s MacBooks having this tech spring to mind first. The tech giant is probably going for a touch-based keyboard to reduce the space the raised keys in a physical keyboard takes. As described in the patent, “the additional height requirements of the movable keys leads to a larger overall device size” in the case of a notebook computer with a built-in keyboard.
The abstract for the patent filing reads: “An electronic device includes an enclosure and a keyboard positioned within the enclosure. The keyboard includes a substrate and a key mechanism. The key mechanism includes a keycap support mechanism, a keycap supported by the keycap support mechanism and movable relative to the substrate, a ferromagnetic component attached to the keycap support mechanism, and a selectively magnetizable magnet. The selectively magnetizable magnet system may include a magnetizable material and a coil configured to selectively magnetize and demagnetize the magnetizable material. The key mechanism may include a collapsible dome biasing the keycap toward the extended position.”
What we are possibly looking at is a keyboard with a ferromagnetic material that can be magnetised with the help of a “selectively magnetizable” magnet. This selectively magnetizable magnet can attract or repel a keycap. The ferromagnetic material will cause the keyboard to be retained inside the body after closing down the MacBook. When demagnetised, the keyboard will slide out of the chassis. The patent opines that since a constant flow of electricity is not required for magnetism as “the selectively magnetizable material may maintain a persistent magnetic field without continuous electrical input”, the chassis may be able to hold the keyboard inside it without the need for a power source when the laptop is physically shut.
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