Shallow keyboards are both the boon and the bane of a MacBook user’s existence, but Apple’s new patent can offer an effective fix. The Silicon Valley tech firm just filed for a patent which can finally solve a major issue in MacBook and MacBook Pro.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office published the patent application by Apple on March 8, and news outlets were quick to point out that the company is finally working on a fix for future computers.
Why MacBook Keyboards Are Annoying
Forget about the latest fiasco in the Apple spaceship headquarters, the tech firm known for innovative devices may roll out another stunning design for future MacBooks.
The MacBook has several problems which can use some fixing: absence of an SD card slot, a limited number of Thunderbolt ports, and is overpriced. However, Apple will go ahead and tackle one of the biggest issues with the device — the keyboard.
Anyone who owns a MacBook knows just how annoying it feels to stop typing to fish out the crumb stuck under the keyboard.
As noted by Gizmodo, anyone who loves toast or croissants have to pause typing sessions to remove crumbs from the shallow keyboards or else the keys won’t work. In a normal laptop, the keyboard travels 1.5 to two millimeters while the distance in mechanical keyboards is about three millimeters. The depressed keyboard in MacBooks is less than a millimeter, making it susceptible to stuck damaging debris which, according to the patent, can cause major damage to electronics.
“Liquid ingress around the keys into the keyboard can damage electronics. Residues from such liquids may corrode or block electrical contacts, getting in the way of key movement and so on,” notes the patent application.
Apple’s Planned Fix
The patent Apple applied for presents three ways to solve the problem with crumbs, possibly, in future MacBook models.
— Danny Winget (@superscientific) March 7, 2018
“A keyboard assembly [could include] a substrate, a keycap, and a guard structure extending from the keycap that funnels contaminants away from the movement mechanism.”
Apple’s first suggestion is to add another membrane on the switch, the mechanism that allows the key to move, and the keycap. This method is already in use, but Apple wants another membrane to protect the mechanical elements in the keyboard.
The second solution the company came up with for better keyboards on the MacBook is to use a perforated membrane which can emit air or gas each time the user presses the keys, which can eliminate the blockage underneath.
Finally, Apple proposed the inclusion of an awning in the keycap to keep crumbs and other debris away from the switch.
Apple filed the keyboard patent back in Sep. 8, 2016, but it just became public recently.