Apple Expands on a possible future Glass Bodied MacBook with a reconfigurable interface, a reverse Charging Area for iDevices & more
Yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a possible future MacBook that is constructed with a glass form factor. The virtual keyboard area will include bendable flat glass that may or may not have protrusions that define distinct key regions of the keyboard. The patent also provides for a magnetically attachable keyboard accessory for those that type all day and prefer a physical keyboard. The glass top MacBook interface is reconfigurable to represent a virtual keyboard, a game controller, a music/entertainment controller. It could also provide users with a convenient reverse charging area for their iPhone or Apple Watch.
Apple's patent FIGS. 16A and B below illustrate virtual keyboards that could be configured in various configurations; FIGS. 16F and G illustrate that users will have the option overlay the glass keyboard area with a magnetically attached physical keyboard in a top or bottom configurations that better suits the user.
Apple's patent FIG. 48F above illustrates how the glass top work area could be customized for gaming, for art using an Apple Pencil, to take on a music/entertainment interface and more.
In Patent FIG. 49A above we see that the Glass MacBook could add Touch ID and other biometric sensors under the glass in the palm rest area for monitoring heart rate, blood oxygen, body temperature or even palm-print ID.
Apple initially filed for this patent in 2018. In yesterday's published patent application 20220326777, Apple added 20 new patent claims to their invention. Below are 9 of the 20 claims with points of interest. Review Apple's full patent for full details and the other 11 patent claims.
New Claim #1. A portable computer comprising a display portion comprising a display; and a base portion pivotally coupled to the display portion and comprising: a bottom case; and a top case, formed from a dielectric material, coupled to the bottom case and comprising: a top member defining a top surface of the base portion; and a sidewall integrally formed with the top member and defining a side surface of the base portion; and a sensing system comprising: a first sensing system configured to determine a location of a touch input applied to the top surface of the base portion; and a second sensing system configured to determine a force of the touch input.
New Claim #2. The portable computer of claim 1, wherein the top case is formed from a single glass member.
New Claim #5. The portable computer's top member defines an opening; and the portable computer further comprises a keyboard positioned in the opening.
New Claim #6. The portable computer may alternatively provide a first display; and the portable computer further comprises a second display within the base portion and viewable through the top case.
New Claim #7. The portable computer of claim 6, wherein the second display is configured to display an image of a keyboard in a keyboard region of the top case.
New Claim #10. The device may include a sensing system that comprises: a touch sensing system configured to determine the location of the touch input; and a force sensing system configured to determine the force of the touch input and to determine the location of the touch input.
New Claim #11. The device will further comprise a haptic device configured to produce a haptic output at the glass top case in response to registering the input at the location of the touch input.
New Claim #18. The notebook computer is configured to register the input as a trackpad input if the location of the touch event is within the trackpad region.
New Claim #19. The notebook computer is configured to take a first action in response to registering the input as the key input and to take a second action different from the first action in response to registering the input as a trackpad input.