Apple patents a dual-purpose fusion keyboard

Apple has invented a new kind of dual purpose keyboard that the company refers to as a “fusion keyboard,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“The invention basically covers one or more of the mechanical keys being able to form dual-purpose mechanical keys being depressed to two or more different levels, or depths, to generate two or more different outputs depending on the depth of the key depression,” Purcher reports. “The space bar is considered a dual purpose key that could double as a touch sensitive cursor and could be configured to generate a mouse click upon being depressed to the second level.”

“With Apple now heavily invested in their new Force Touch trackpad for the MacBook, the current invention may have been sacrificed,” Purcher muses. “However, Apple could technically bring this invention to the iMac’s keyboard over time.”

Read more, and see Apple’s patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

22 Comments

  1. As I posted in another thread, Steve Jobs is probably rolling over in his grave with respect to force touch finding its way into Apple’s UI. I seriously doubt the guy famous for insistence on the one-button mouse (so there will never be confusion concerning which button to press) would have said “no” to force touch. After about a month with my Apple Watch, I still find force touch confusing. Different apps using it in different ways make it worse. I often find my self pressing, then pressing hard, with no clue as to which way is supposed to work (of course, the lagginess of some Watch apps makes the confusion even worse).

      1. I appreciate the one button mouse. It trained a lot of developers and users to focus on certain tasks. I used 2 hands at the keyboard and mouse.

        Now I use one hand on a 2 button mouse with scroll wheel.

      2. Two buttons for me baby!!!

        But I love the trackpad with two finger right click..

        The one button mouse was an aesthetic issue, to differentiate Macs with non Macs. Remember back then you were looking at 2, 4, and even 4 button mice on Unix systems, before Microsoft even knew what a mouse was.

        1. I wish there was a normal mouse that had left, right, scroll-wheel + button + left-right rocker, and 2 programmable side buttons for the thumb. That would be so useful for non-touch desktop systems. 😀

      3. Marble FX trackball was by far the best interface for me. Never offered for Mac, and now Logitech seems to have completely abandoned it altogether. Sad.

      4. Jobs was wrong about a lot of things, but he acknowledged that and was happy to have someone make their point to prove him wrong. He’s said very specifically that he has no problem being wrong. He originally didn’t want apps on the iPhone, thinking it would give hackers an in. And, yes…that dreaded one-button mouse. More importantly than all of that, he was very right where it counted. 🙂

  2. Apple needs a new set of books to define the interface guidelines. We old timers remember the multivolume set of books (you could even buy them in Barnes & Noble and other bookstores) from the early to mid 80s that defined the accepted interface guidelines for the Mac.

    Apple very strongly pushed developers to follow those guidelines. That ‘s why 99% of Mac apps use command-Q to quit. That’s why closing a window just closed a window and didn’t sometimes quit the program. That’s why opening a file opened it into a new, independent window and that was not dependent upon what windows were already open or what program it was.

    Even Apple is violating these guidelines today. It makes the user experience more and more confusing and the Mac more difficult to use.

    Apple: BRING BACK THE INTERFACE GUIDELINES. EXPAND THEM TO iOS and the Watch OS. D O I T N O W !!!!

    1. I downloaded a bunch of apps on the Mac App Store. I was checking out some games, during free time.

      I was appalled. Who do these authors think they are? It was pure crapware… I am not saying the Mac Appstore is full of crap, but I am saying some crap is slipping through. I am glad I didn’t waste any money. It’s like the dev didn’t read the memo. They seem to have ported over to the Mac from some cave man code.

      1. The very worst case of porting to the Mac was the very first version of AutoCAD for the Mac. AutoCAD had just migrated to actually use the windowing environment in Windows 3.1, then Autodesk announced they were going to release AutoCAD for the Mac. The CAD users on Macs were very interested in seeing the Mac port.

        Did they do a port of the Windows version? NO!

        They ported over the previous DOS version of AutoCAD and had it open in a single window on the Mac. Yes… They did the DOS version inside a single window and called it AutoCAD for Mac. It was the true antithesis of supporting the Mac interface guidelines.

        They, by some strange reason, Autodesk was surprised when the Mac version did not sell. They subsequently killed the Mac version claiming that there was no interest in a Mac version of AutoCAD. The reality was that there was absolutely zero interest in an old DOS version running inside a single window on the Mac.

    1. I learned to type (actually took a 1/2 semester “typing class”) on a manual typewriter when anything but manuals were *extremely* rare. I’ve used keyboards since the old vertical cylinder keys on the old 60s era teletypes. I’ve used computer keyboards from crappy IBM terminals through the original Apple ][ and VT52 through Apple’s latest desktop extended and Retina MacBook Pro keyboards. (I haven’t tried any real work on the new MacBook’s keyboard.)

      In my opinion, the very best keyboard of all was the version that shipped with the Mac IIci. Sure it had that odd Apple Desktop Bus interface, but for feel while typing, it was, for me, the best of them all.

      1. Did the teacher in the typing class nail polish all the keys too so you were forced to learn to touch type? I remember well my 1 semester typing class in Intermediate school.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.