RUMOR: Apple Macs to replace Function Keys with user-programmable ‘Color Touch Finger LCD’ buttons

“In what could be the biggest innovation since the computer mouse… Apple is planning a giant leap forward with the introduction of the simple yet revolutionary idea of user programmable ‘Mini-touch finger LCD’s.’ In one bold move Apple will redefine the notion of function keys from their now dubious state of uniform confusion, to a visual interactive user experience. The new touch finger LCD’s will appear first on Apple’s Macbook Pro along both sides of the scrolling touchpad, as an addition to the manual numeric function keys, but will eventually replace them all together,” New Tech Spy reports.

“The keys themselves do not move vertically, they are however separated by the aluminum face, which will give them a more positive individual feel, and protect them from unintentional palm activation. Each key panel will change it’s image depending on the users programmable desires. Functions could be almost anything, ranging from simple screen clips to a set of automated tasks; and application specific duties,” New Tech Spy reports. “Introduction plans are not set, but could come as early as January 2007.”

Full article with images here.

Engadget calls it the “latest crackpot rumor” in their coverage of New Tech Spy’s article here.

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32 Comments

  1. Crackpot rumor?

    HERE?!?

    Naw…

    I’m still waiting for that media hub connected to the Apple-branded big-ass plasma set that downloads movies from the online video vault, whilst making appointments in my Palm-iPod which is also an Apple-branded phone.

  2. im all for innovation but—-what I would like to see is a deal with IBM for those 5 to 6 ghz chips are supposed to come out next year — and a deal to put CELL into notebooks. I think Apple can demonstrate true flexibility by using INTEL inside gadgets, some mini’s and some note books while maintaing a flag ship line truly spectaculr IBM powered Macs. Id also like to see durable displays. And why cant a phone deliver internet search capability as well as e-mail and I-Tunes? Why are phone companies allowed to essentially close the market on phones by tying the phone to service? Shouldnt any one be able to introduce a phone into the market that can be purchased by the consumer and used with any phone service? I think GPS should be on phones along with the star charts keyed to the area located by the GPS–why? just so people can begin to identify the local stellar objects and begin to have a true sense of where they are. How about it? Apple should make a deal with the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Apple should buy Apple and the MJ Beatles portfolio. Apple needs to make a deal with HBO pronto. A ITUNE a day keeps the doctor away. So say we all.

  3. Might be fun but I don’t think Apple will ever go the cluttered route.

    And..I’m getting withdrawal symptoms as we’ve gone two weeks without any new Apple products…! Hope you’ve sent your birthday card to Uncle Steve for his 51st on Thursday. (No I haven’t – in case someone believes me).

  4. I’m playing the Devil’s Advocate here so please, flame with restraint…

    The Dell that I have here at work already has “hot” buttons on the keyboard…one for the internet, one for email, one for search, etc.

    My question is: Is this really considered “innovation” on Apple’s part?

  5. Great, just what we need, keys that change what they are continuously.

    How about a new key layout? My fingers almost never find the right keys, but maybe it’s just my problem. My left and right hands think they were switched at birth.

    The dashboard key suddenly becomes the “instant pr0n” key right before you click it. Just what I need in a presentation.

    If anyone can make this work right, it’ll be Apple. Why do we keep saying that? Cellphone services suck because of monopolistic predatory behavior from cell networks. But if Apple were to make a phone, everything would change.

    What the fsck? Why Apple? WHY NOT ANYBODY!!!??? What’s wrong with this planet? Is SJ from Xena, the 10th planet, or firther out, with a better perspective? Is every other technology company run by politicians? Is that the problem? The people that make CEO are not the kind of people you want as CEO. Same with politicians. The people we elect are the least qualified for the friggin job.

    What if SJ dies? Will the human race collapse. I think it will. That’s why God (make your choice) let him survive cancer.

    SAVE STEVE JOBS!!

  6. This way I could program all the different function keys to different varieties of pr0n, depending on my mood. Only problem is it will take me a few days to remember which key is bondage, g-bang, and all the other good ones. When is apple going to start making adult films???

  7. Kind of makes sense they would do something like this, seems every new feature Apple brings out (Expose, Dashboard, FrontRow) uses another function key, combined with display contrast, volume, eject and external monitor display keys, all of ’em are pretty much used up!

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