Apple invents a large Illuminated Area that is designed to eliminate a MacBook's traditional Trackpad
Earlier today Patently Apple posted an IP report titled "Apple Invents a MacBook with Biometric Sensors for Health & Presence Sensors to Auto Light Keyboard and Trackpad." In a second MacBook patent application published today by the US Patent & Trademark Office Apple describes eliminating the traditional and distinct trackpad. In its place Apple envisions a massive new area beneath the keyboard that is designed with microperforations in the metal to allow lights beneath it present users with a lit trackpad as well as appropriate icons, glyphs, symbols and more that would make the user more productive.
In Apple's patent FIG. 3C below we're able to see the dynamic input region 128 is shown with a visual output 183a, a visual output 183b, and a visual output 183c optionally illuminated on the translucent layer.
The visual outputs 183a-183c may correspond to distinct illuminated boundaries of the active input area 150. For example, various ones of the visual outputs 183a-183c may be illuminated concurrently or in a sequence to visually emphasize different areas that may be used to receive an input and control a function of the electronic device.
Additionally or alternatively, the visual outputs 183a-183c may be illuminated in a sequence to show the active input area 150 expanding or contracting. For example, when the active input area 150 is initially defined or activated within the dynamic input region 128, the visual output 183c may be illuminated, followed by the visual output 183b, and subsequently the visual output 183a. This may give the appearance of an expanding active input area.
The sequence may be reversed when the active input area 150 is turned off or otherwise deactivated.
A group of microperforations may define a boundary, for example, of the active input area 150. As such, when illuminated, the input functionality on the translucent layer may be revealed. The group of microperforations may also define various other symbols, glyphs, indicia, and/or other visual outputs at the dynamic input region 128.
Apple's patent application that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was originally filed back in Q2 2019. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Today's patent application supports Apple's initial work on a dynamic input system that was published in Q2 2016.
You could review our initial IP report on this titled "Apple Invents the Movable Illuminated MacBook Trackpad," which will provide you with more patent figures and a better overview of Apple's invention that also expands on the concept extensively beyond today's patent application. Today's cover graphic is from that initial patent application.
Apple also published a patent on this concept that went one step further by eliminating the keyboard for an illuminate design that you could review here. Apple could begin slowly with just replacing the trackpad area before going with a more challenging design replacing the physical keyboard.
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