The idea of a touch keyboard for Macs and MacBooks has been explored by Apple before, but never in such a complex manner as we’ve just seen in a fresh patent. Previously we saw a dual display MacBook being patented and now a keyless keyboard accessory pops up for Macs, iPad Pro and more.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has this patent published already, illustrating the keyless setup. It also lets the accessory morph and turn its into interface into varied versions, for drawing, gaming, media and more. For example you could gain media controls for iTunes or Apple Music. Imagine colorful equalizer controls and the patent even mentions virtual gaming inputs.
Realistic touch on the virtual keyboard is another key aspect. The second screen is meant to be flexible and packed with force sensors, to simulate haptically the real key input. Lenovo tried something similar with the Lenovo Yoga Book, but didn’t go all the way. They simulated keys, but could have offered more feedback. The keyless keyboard may also offer force touch areas, a sort of 3D Touch for an extra layer of control.
Regions may be associated to various input forces and the keyboard may be integrated within a device, that includes a display, like a laptop, or offered separately. With Apple being Apple they’ll probably sell such “Apple Magic Keyboard” units for $300 or something like that. Nobody has cracked the market of touch gaming accessories just yet, but Apple just might. Microsoft kind of did with the their Surface devices combined with the Dial and Surface Pen.