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First glass trackpads, next glass keycaps for Apple MacBooks?

Apple seems intent on trying to push forward with keyboard innovations. (Image: Apple)
Apple seems intent on trying to push forward with keyboard innovations. (Image: Apple)
Apple’s MacBook keyboards have been the recipient of plenty of unwanted attention in recent years thanks to the infamous butterfly keyboard debacle. However, the company seems intent on continuing to try to innovate on that front with a patent lodged for glass keycaps that might feature on future MacBooks.

Apple has had a long affinity for using glass in its products from everything to its use on the display of the first iPhone through to its use on Apple’s MacBook trackpads. You’d think it might be a little gun-shy when it comes to trying new things on its keyboard following its recent well-documented woes, but apparently still sees scope for innovation. Wccftech has spotted a new Apple patent for glass keycaps that sounds like it has intriguing possibilities.

Regular plastic keycaps are the industry norm, but they can have drawbacks including getting shiny from finger oil or the glyphs can get worn off over time through wear and tear. Apple’s patent proposes to address these durability issues by replacing plastic keycaps with transparent glass keycaps. The glyphs would also be printed on the underside of the keycaps rather than the top so they couldn’t be worn away.

Naturally, Apple will continue to use keyboard backlighting in the form of dual-color or RGB LEDs that could be manipulated to control both color as well as the brightness of the backlighting. The glyphs would be printed in a light-blocking material that would allow the figure to remain clearly visible to the user. From the sounds of things, Apple’s proposal may not only add to the durability of the keyboard but also its appearance.

Let’s hope the tech sees the light of day as it could make for a better keyboard experience.

An image from Apple's glass keycap patent. (Image: USPTO)
An image from Apple's glass keycap patent. (Image: USPTO)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > First glass trackpads, next glass keycaps for Apple MacBooks?
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-07- 6 (Update: 2020-07- 6)
Sanjiv Sathiah
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.