Apple has already announced changes to the Mac hardware with its ambitious move away from Intel to ARM for its processors.
That’s not the only change that is being considered, with Apple publishing details on a new keyboard technology that could light up the understated MacBook family.
The innovation is the coloured keyboard.
Not of the keys themselves – which no doubt will stay black on the laptop and white on the bluetooth ‘Magic’ keyboards – but the lights underneath the keys that help the typography stand out.
I’m ready! https://t.co/PpUtjB7Kao— Jon (@twistedtfm) October 23, 2020
The details come from a newly published patent titled, deep breath here, “Mixed input lighting using multiple light sources and control circuitry to change a combined white light spectrum based on ambient light data.” Malcolm Owen reports:
“The backlighting system of MacBook Pro keyboards could be upgraded to include TrueTone capabilities, with Apple examining the use of multiple LEDs per key to make the light seem even despite changes in the local environment.
“Apple’s TrueTone technology has been useful for its customers for a while, with it enabling the colors of the display to seem the same when the user moves the screen through an environment.
By monitoring the light in the local area, TrueTone automatically adjusts the color output of the display so the colors seem to be the same to the user at all times, at least relative to their surroundings.”
If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The patent builds on a previous patent published in 2020.
The first utilised multiple LEDs to create lighting effects, while the second focused on controlling the keyboard lighting’s white point to ensure a consistent brightness in relation to the environment.
Ideas such as multi-coloured keys and specific patterns per app can be seen prominently on gaming laptops.
Apple has always pointed out its true tone systems that generate the correct colours, and while the butterfly keyboard was, frankly, an embarrassing mess of implementation, the rationale behind it was the extension of Apple’s design brief.
Apple is refreshing its Mac lineup over the next two years to support the ARM-based architecture.
While the first of these machines (which is expected to be announced in mid-November) should look remarkably like the current MacBook laptops, Apple could re-engineer the laptops for this new generation.
Adding in new keyboard light (presumably “in a way that only Apple can”) would certainly give the hardware an obvious differentiation between the older Intel-based machines.