After years of slogging through various iterations of their “butterfly mechanism” keyboards in the company’s otherwise highly-praised notebook computers, Apple appears finally ready to turn the page.
It is believed that Apple would fall back to using traditional scissor switches on the next MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (as speculated by reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo). However, a recently uncovered patent suggests that the company is tinkering with optical switches, or keys with light sensors.
In the patent, which was first spotlighted by Apple Insider, Apple describes a key with a rubber opaque underside and both a light source and light sensor. As the key goes from an uncompressed to a compressed position, the opaque filter blocks more light so that the sensor knows when to actuate a keystroke. The sensor then detects and measures changes in the light being generated as the key is depressed and responds with a corresponding input. This differs from a traditional key mechanism, which is entirely mechanic and requires a physical connection to be made.
Before you get too excited (or cynical) about this optical keyboard, it’s worth noting that Apple filed the patent in Sept 2016 and we haven’t heard any rumors about it between then and now.
MacDailyNews Take: Just go back to the rugged and reliable scissor mechanism! If it’s a hair thicker, so be it. No one not named Jony cares a whit.
The infamous butterfly keyboard [was created] presumably in the interest of shaving off half a millimeter about which nobody gave a rat’s ass. — SteveJack, MacDailyNews, April 2, 2019