“The US Patent & Trademark Office has published a patent application from Apple that greatly advances their keyless keyboard project in greater detail with patent figures illustrating multiple morphing interface options that are on the drawing board,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“One such interface that is illustrated is one that will be able to control iTunes / Apple Music. While the illustration is clear, it’s limited. The second display could of course provide greater details such as colorful equalizer controls and much more. Apple also quickly mentions an interface with virtual “gaming inputs” as another possible option supported by this keyless keyboard,” Purcher reports. “The other major advancement in this project focuses on delivering realistic touch on this virtual keyboard. The second display is designed to be flexible and in-tune with force sensors and a unique haptic board beneath the second display.”

“Apple’s invention covers a keyless keyboard with an input surface having multiple differentiated input regions. The keyless keyboard will provide multiple force touch areas,” Purcher reports. “An input device that includes force sensing, haptic outputs, and an adaptive display may be used to define user interfaces other than traditional keyboards. Apple’s patent FIG. 16 above depicts an example input device #1600 incorporated within a notebook or laptop computer in which an alternative user input is produced on an adaptive input surface #1604.”

Apple patent application reveals 'keyless keyboard' featuring haptic feedback

Apple patent application reveals ‘keyless keyboard’ featuring haptic feedback

Much more, including more of Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote just yesterday, “When the Apple’s software, Taptic Engine, and other innovations can provide the necessary tactile cues – as Force Touch trackpad and Magic Trackpad 2 do already – we’re all for it!”

The problem is… these control buttons that are fixed in plastic and are the same for every application. Well, every application wants a slightly different user interface, a slightly optimized set of buttons, just for it. And what happens if you think of a great idea six months from now? You can’t run around and add a button to these things. They’re already shipped… It doesn’t work because the buttons and the controls can’t change. They can’t change for each application, and they can’t change down the road if you think of another great idea you wanna add to this product. Well, how do you solve this? Hmm. It turns out, we have solved it! — Steve Jobs, unveiling the iPhone, January 9, 2007

Where Apple’s reinvention of the keyboard may go next: Full touchscreen – March 14, 2018
MacPad? Apple granted a patent for a dual display MacBook or future-gen iPad Pro – February 28, 2018