Apple often files applications for whacky patents for devices that may or may not (mostly not) make their way to the commercial market. A similar patent was recently filed by the tech giant, describing special MacBook keys that can also work as a wireless mouse. Confused? Let’s look at how it might work if it ever makes its way to a commercial MacBook laptop.
Detachable MacBook Keys as a Wireless Mouse?
Apple recently filed a patent application, titled “Deployable key mouse,” at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Citing the size and portability issues of computer mice, Apple describes special deployable keys that could be detached from a keyboard to use as a wireless pointing device.
According to the patent, these special keys can be integrated into keyboards and users can simply detach them to convert them into a mouse on-demand. When not in use, the special key(s) will work as traditional keyboard keys to help users type.
“A computer input device can include a housing, a set of key switch mechanisms positioned in the housing, and a removable key structure that is operable between a first configuration positioned in the housing and a second configuration detached from the housing,” reads the patent.
The patent also shows a couple of examples of how this detachable key-mouse can be used. While the first one shows a single key being detached from a keyboard to be used as a mouse, the other example shows a set of keys being used as a wireless pointing device. The company also explains how it could integrate a touch-sensitive surface onto the keycap of the deployable key to add the features of its Apple Magic Mouse.
In some cases, as described in the patent, the keys can have a convex surface, which will provide more surface area for easy touching and gliding gestures. The detachable key can also double as a fingerprint scanner too.
However, there are some potential issues with this system. For instance, what if you need to use the detachable key(s) to type while using it/ them as a mouse. Additionally, It would be kind of an annoyance if you have to constantly detach and re-attach the keys on the keyboard while using a MacBook.
Hence, it seems like a difficult idea for Apple to implement this system in its future MacBooks. Nonetheless, it is nice to see Apple working on such quirky patent ideas from time to time, and who knows such ideas might actually come integrated into Apple products in the future! Meanwhile, do let us know your thoughts on Apple’s latest patent for detachable MacBook keys that can be used as a wireless mouse in the comments below.