The fu­ture of Ap­ple’s ac­ces­sories

Mac Format - - FUTURE MACS -

The next Magic Mouse, Ap­ple Key­board and Magic Track­pad may be an­nounced as you’re read­ing this: leaked doc­u­ments from the US FCC reg­u­la­tory body have al­ready shared their se­crets. The Blue­tooth ver­sion has been im­proved from 2.1 to Blue­tooth LE 4.2 for bet­ter bat­tery life, and the key­board and mouse ap­pear to have sealed, recharge­able lithium bat­ter­ies in­stead of the AA cells we’re used to us­ing. We re­ally hope the key­board is back­lit too.

Ap­ple may charge those de­vices wire­lessly us­ing loosely cou­pled res­o­nant charg­ing, which can trans­mit power with­out re­quir­ing any de­vice to touch the charger. That charger could be in an iMac. In the shorter term, Force Touch is likely to make an ap­pear­ance on the Magic Track­pad and pos­si­bly in the Magic Mouse too. A fu­ture Magic Track­pad might also sup­port Ap­ple’s new Pen­cil.

Fu­ture backup

Ap­ple’s fifth-gen­er­a­tion Time Cap­sule (and its sib­ling, the Air­Port Ex­treme) is a clever de­vice with sup­port for ev­ery Wi-Fi stan­dard up to 802.11ac, but there’s still room for im­prove­ment: its USB 2.0 port is dread­fully slow com­pared to USB 3.0, and the po­ten­tial of 802.11ad for high speed stream­ing of con­tent such as un­com­pressed 4K video is ob­vi­ously at­trac­tive. Don’t ex­pect an SSD ver­sion any time soon, how­ever: the Time Cap­sule is all about the ter­abytes, and for the fore­see­able fu­ture those ter­abytes will be hard drives.

Some of the most in­ter­est­ing ideas are buried in Ap­ple’s many patents, which in­clude key­boards with in­te­grated dis­plays – so you could trans­form the key la­bels based on what you’re do­ing or what lan­guage you’re us­ing – and hap­tic feed­back, de­vices that charge them­selves via so­lar or wire­less charg­ing, and a ‘fu­sion key­board’ with touch-sen­si­tive keys that work as a touch­pad as well as a tra­di­tional key­board, and with Force Touch in ev­ery sin­gle key. Just be­cause Ap­ple patents some­thing doesn’t mean it will make it, of course, but it does show that the com­pany con­tin­ues to think dif­fer­ent in sur­pris­ing and de­light­ing us.

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