Apple notes that conventional keyboards are susceptible to damage. For example, debris and other contaminants may enter the casing through the keycap apertures and damage the internal components of the MacBook. Also, the mechanical structures of the keyboard are vulnerable to a drop or mechanical shock.
One solution detailed by Apple involves a force-sensitive 'zero travel' input structure. The term "zero travel" doesn't mean an absence of movement, but rather an imperceptible or unrecognizable movement of components. Components of the input structure may deform to provide an input but the deformation of these components may not be perceived, felt or detected by the user.
To create a keyboard layout, Apple proposes using a light guide layer that provides light through a group of micro-perforations or holes. These holes would be sealed with an optically clear sealant to reduce ingress of debris and/or liquid, while allowing light to pass through. Holes may be formed throughout input areas providing key boundaries.
In the non-limiting example shown in FIG. 11, select holes formed through contact portion in active input areas may be illuminated by light guide layer and/or light source to visually indicate to a user that these input areas are interactive. For example, where input structure formed below input area is configured as a QWERTY keyboard input device (hereafter, "QWERTY keyboard"), select holes of contact portion may be illuminated to form an input area boundary, and individual keycap boundaries to form individual input keys of the QWERTY keyboard. The input area boundary may indicate where input areas ends and keycap boundaries may indicate to a user where each input key of the QWERTY keyboard is located within input area.
Similar to Force Touch on the iPhone or Trackpad, Apple would employ haptic feedback to let a user know when they've initiated a key press.
Do you think you could get used to a Force Touch keyboard with mechanical keys? Let us know in the comments!
Read More [via Mashable]