In 2011, Patently Apple released a report titled âApple Talks-Up Smart Bezels + Live & Reconfigurable MacBooksâ. The invention was essentially a primary outline of reconfigurable hardware interfaces for MacBooks, the iPad, and in future devices like televisions or home appliances. One of the main axes of the invention was the reconfigurable MacBook Surface or “Live”. Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office released a patent application from Apple that reveals their work in progress and the refinement of the reconfigurable MacBook that essentially eliminates the physical keyboard and hard trackpad. The user would be free to configure the interface of their MacBook to work for them, whether that means adding a numeric keypad or a giant gamepad and placing them anywhere on the grid. surface area of ââthe MacBook, as shown in our cover graphic. This possible future MacBook has the power to reinvent the notebook like Apple did by killing the traditional mobile phone with its multitouch iPhone. While some PC makers think innovation is just about making a device slim, Apple thinks differently and seeks to deliver game-changing.
The reconfigurable surface of the MacBook
Apple’s invention provides a configurable, force-sensitive input structure for an electronic device such as a MacBook. In some embodiments, the force-responsive input structure can be a zero-stroke or a short-stroke structure.
The term “zero stroke” as used herein may not require the absence of movement, but may rather be defined as imperceptible or unrecognizable movement of the components of the input structure by a user of the electronic device. and / or bending or bending of a structure as opposed to moving one component relative to another.
Apple notes that electronic device components and / or the input structure may deform in response to a force from the user providing input to the electronic device (eg, “input force”). However, the deformation of these components may not be perceived, felt or detected by the user when interacting with the electronic device and / or the input structure, or may be relatively negligible.
In a particular embodiment, the configurable and force sensitive input structure can be configured as a variety of input devices for the electronic device including, but not limited to, a keyboard, numeric keypad, or touchpad.
The electronic device can use a single input structure to form a number of separate input devices, or, conversely, can include a number of input structures for forming separate input devices.
Accordingly, the force sensitive input structure can provide input devices or unique / configurable components to a user; these devices / components may not generally be associated with the electronic device and / or may not generally be integrated into the electronic device. Think of a gamepad, for exemple.
Furthermore, the positioning of the input devices of the force sensitive input structure can be customizable. That is to say, the input devices can be moved to separate locations on the housing, within the force sensitive input structure.
Therefore, the input devices can be moved to a specific location in the housing based on user preferences. Likewise, one or more of these input devices can be resized or reshaped by user, operation of associated electronic device, software, firmware, other hardware, etc.
The reconfigurable MacBook
Apple’s patent FIG. 1A noted below shows a reconfigurable MacBook with configurable and force-sensitive input structures; In fig. 11, we see a standard MacBook configuration with a non-standard numeric keypad added by a user in a position they choose; FIG. 15B shows a top view of an electronic device including a configurable and force sensitive input structure in a second mode of operation including a touchpad and the mode key.
In Apple patent FIG. 12 noted below, we can see an enlarged part # 12 of a part of FIG. 11 above regarding the keyboard.
Apple notes that in FIG. 12, some holes or micro-perforations in the MacBook can also be illuminated to provide a key glyph (# 246). As shown in the non-limiting example of FIG. 12, each illuminated enter key (# 244) may have an illuminated key glyph corresponding to the respective enter key of the QWERTY keyboard.
Apple notes that the haptic feedback module via one or more haptic actuators can provide haptic signals to contact parts of the case. Haptic signals mimic the tactile sensation of pressing a button on a conventional keyboard or clicking on a conventional touchpad.
Apple further notes that micro-perforations or holes on the surface of the reconfigurable MacBook can be sealed with an optically clear sealant (or any other suitable sealant) to reduce the ingress of debris and / or liquid while still allowing light to pass through. to form keys, a keyboard, trackpad, or other structure.
And finally, Apple clarifies that although the objective of the invention was put on a MacBook, the concept could be applied to other future devices such as an iMac, an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod, a device. device, display, digital music player, portable computing device or display, health monitoring device, etc.
Apple’s patent application was initially filed in the third quarter of 2015. As this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to be marketed is unknown at this time.
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