The future of Apple’s accessories
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.
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.