Magic Key­board 2

Ap­ple’s solid-state in­no­va­tions ap­pear des­tined for key­boards

Mac Format - - APPLE CORE -

Ap­ple has in­tro­duced sev­eral in­put in­no­va­tions since the iPhone in 2007, from mul­ti­touch ca­pac­i­tive touch­screens to track­pads that seem to click when they don’t move at all. It seems likely some of these tech­nolo­gies will con­verge in a dy­namic in­put de­vice that will re­place your key­board and bet­ter adapt to what­ever task is at hand.

This de­vice is likely to be an en­tirely flat sur­face, and we think it’ll ex­pand on the way the iPhone 7’s Home but­ton has a mo­tor be­hind it, which vi­brates in re­sponse to enough pres­sure.

The first step on the path to this full key­board re­place­ment is likely to be a more mod­est con­trol strip at the top of Ap­ple’s key­boards, re­plac­ing the func­tion keys and show­ing a mix of sta­tus info and con­trols for the cur­rent app or nor­mally shown at the right of the menu bar, and con­trols for sys­tem fea­tures.

Who would’ve thought the key­board would be one of the most ex­cit­ing things to an­tic­i­pate on your fu­ture Mac?

Con­trol Strip

I’ve long ad­mired stuff like the Op­ti­mus Max­imus key­board. Ap­ple’s take on the idea is sure to be wild

In the short term, we ex­pect Ap­ple to add a con­trol strip like the one that’s ru­moured to be com­ing to the MacBook Pro. That is, an adapt­able OLED touch­screen in place of the row of func­tion keys.

no ke ys!

Longer term, Ap­ple might fol­low up on a 2014 patent fil­ing for a ‘force-sen­si­tive in­put struc­ture’. It de­picted this con­cept as en­tirely re­plac­ing a MacBook’s key­board, mean­ing no keys at all – just one gi­gan­tic, adap­tive con­trol strip in its place. Where the MacBook goes, the Magic Key­board is likely to fol­low.

Hap­tic feed­back

Re­cent track­pads and the iPhone 7’s Home but­ton don’t ac­tu­ally de­press; Ap­ple’s Hap­tic En­gine sim­u­lates that sen­sa­tion. We ex­pect it to play a piv­otal role in mak­ing a key­less ‘key­board’ ap­peal­ing to use.

back­light­ing

Our pet peeve with the Magic Key­board is its lack of a back­light, which isn’t help­ful if you’ve dimmed over­head light­ing to work late at night. Ap­ple fal­tered in this be­fore with 2010’s MacBook Air, but fixed it in the 2011 model. We ex­pect the Magic Key­board 2 will do so as well.

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