As described in the patent, “the additional height requirements of the movable keys leads to a larger overall ...Read More
may be planning to make its MacBooks thinner. Apple recently filed a
with USPTO, which hints at a new, retractable
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
. 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.