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Apple continues to work on a MacBook-Like device with a glass base that supports a virtual keyboard with an advanced Sensor System

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Apple has been working on an all-glass MacBook-like device since 2017 wherein the keyboard area would allow for a virtual keyboard and or a new kind of keyboard wherein the keys  deform when depressed  to give the sensation of typing on a physical keyboard. In addition, this new notebook device would allow for devices such as an iPhone or Apple Watch to be recharged with inductive charging coils beneath the glass.

This is a very complex project in contrast to the alternative concept of a foldable iPad which came to light in 2021. The latter is in step with a new emerging trend that will soon see many PC OEMs bringing hybrid tablet-notebooks come to market in 2024. HP introduced their hybrid PC in September. Lenovo was the pioneer in this new form factor.

Last week, the US Patent & Trademark Office published updates to Apple’s original patent for a 2-segment glass surface MacBook with the glass bottom case supporting both a virtual keyboard and a next-gen glass surface that may be configured to locally deform in response to the touch input. Apple further notes that the device may be configured to register an input at the location of the touch input if the determined force exceeds a threshold force.

In patent point #0435 Apple notes that a region or localized area of the contact surface may be displaced or deformed outwardly to produce a momentarily raised region” representing keys as outlined in patent FIGS. 1A & 16B below.

2 All Glass MacBook-like device

In patent FIG. 49A above, we’re able to see an iPhone being recharged via inductive charging coils beneath the glass surface. Coincidentally, Apple was granted a patent in June for multiple recharging coils behind an iPad display which could also apply to a foldable iPad as noted earlier.

Apple added 20 new patent claims to their original invention. Interestingly, new patent Claim #2 states that The portable computer will have a top case that is formed from a single glass member.

Under the single glass member are two sensing systems; one for the display area and another for the entire lower portion that will support the virtual keyboard and trackpad, supporting a Touch ID virtual button and support biometric sensors for palm prints, monitoring heart rate and more.

Microsoft clearly erred by releasing their Surface Duo smartphone with a two-display system versus a foldable single display system like Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold.

Apple has a foldable device patent that we pointed to at the top of the report that will use a large single display that could fold so as to appear like a notebook with a specialized User Interface segmenting input and output areas on the single display. One of Apple’s latest patent updates hints of the use of “a single glass member.”

Yet at the same time, Apple seems to want to keep a 2-display device concept viable even though it hints of a “single glass member.” The why behind Apple wanting to keep a 2-display device viable is above my pay grade to answer this with certainty.

To review its full details, review patent application #20230333658 titled “Device having Integrated Interface System.”

10.51FX - Patent Application Bar


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