The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to Apple for a dual-display MacBook with a virtual keyboard replacing the traditional keyboard and with the ability to wirelessly charge an iPhone.
As reported by Patently Apple, this patent was submitted three years ago, and only now has Apple won it.
With this patent, the company could take a radical path and get rid of a physical keyboard. The interesting thing about this application is that while rumors suggest that Apple will remove the only touchable interface on the MacBook Pro, the Touch Bar, this patent imagines a MacBook with no physical keyboard at all.
Apple’s patent FIG. 16A above illustrates the virtual keyboard #1605 in a traditional layout. However, because the images of the keys of the virtual keyboard are produced by a display below the top case, different keyboard layouts could be supported like in FIG. 16B using an ergonomic keyboard layout. As another example, we’re able to see in patent FIG. 16C above that dual-display based notebook could use the virtual keyboard area and use another available user interface that could double as a game controller.
Patently Apple says this virtual keyboard could be rearranged, swapping the position of the virtual keyboard and trackpad. With a virtual keyboard, Apple could bring gestures from iOS and iPadOS as well, such as pinch, zoom, slide to select, and more.
In the patent, Apple says this MacBook includes biometric sensors, which we could interpret as Face ID, fingerprint sensors (aka Touch ID), and a wireless charger, which would be in the left down corner of the notebook.
Although very futuristic, there are a few notebooks that already feature a dual-display, even though they’re not for typing.
It’s unclear if or whether Apple could introduce all of these features to an upcoming MacBook. As for now, users are expecting a redesigned MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar, more ports, and a miniLED display, as you can learn more about it here.
If you’re curious about this latest patent, you can check more about it here.