Apple’s new patent may mean the end of physical keyboards


Apple has its own method of haptic feedback, known as Taptics, which uses various motors and sensors to trick your brain into thinking a surface is clickable. This technology is already present in some form in the Apple Watch and new MacBook but, if a recent patent filing is to be believed, the company may soon take that technology to virtual keyboards as well. 

If a recent Apple patent filing is anything to go by, some of the technology behind the Apple Watch and new MacBook could someday move to keyboards. An application published by the USPTO earlier this week describes virtual keys that simulate feedback when touched but do not actually move. Apple’s method of haptic feedback, which it calls “Taptics,” uses sensors and electromagnetic motors to fool your brain into perceiving mounted surfaces as clickable. The MacBook’s Taptic-equipped Force Touch trackpad, for example, never moves but feels like it’s responding mechanically when pressed. The Apple Watch’s touchscreen, which uses the same Taptics principles, works similarly.

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