Apple might be developing a new type of keyboard for its MacBooks that features a whole bunch of engineering acrobatics just to keep dusts and crumbs from entering the system.
It's an all-too-familiar situation: one uses the computer while eating, then without knowing, little crumbs fall off from their food and sneak in the tiny gaps and crevices between keys. As noted in that patent, liquids and solid particles can damage, corrode, or block certain electrical contacts and prevent key movement.
How Apple Plans To Make Your Keyboard Crumb-Free
Apple's patent has three ideas on how to prevent this.
First is by applying a membrane between the mechanism that moves the key and the keycap.
The second is by applying a perforated membrane beneath keys that blows out air at every key press so as to get rid of crumbs, dusts, and other small debris.
The third is by creating an awning around the keycap to funnel debris away from the mechanism that moves the key.
The patent features many illustrations and figures, suggesting Apple is contemplating on many approaches to create such a keyboard. While only recently published, the patent had actually been filed way, way back in September 2016. This was close to the day when it announced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and more than a month prior to the unveiling of redesigned MacBook Pro models in October.
Don't Get Excited Just Yet
Whether any of these ideas end up being used on future MacBook models isn't a certainty, though, since patents aren't definitive indication of a company's product roadmap. Sometimes, a patent is more of a "we thought of it first" type of things rather than a clear sign of what's to come. Anyhow, Apple certainly didn't thought of this first, as Gizmodo notes. For example, both Topre and Razer already have special keyboard mechanisms that incorporate membranes underneath keys.
While the patent doesn't suggest a new line of MacBook implementing the aforementioned keyboard ideas are coming, it does indicate that Apple is trying to look for solutions for its future machines. It's very likely that this will end up on one of, if not all of its MacBooks in the future, but it's hard to say when.
Thoughts on Apple's potential implementations for a dust and crumb-free keyboard for MacBooks? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!