Apple already offers the pressure-sensitive Force Touch technology in Mac trackpads, but the company now seems intent on extending this interface to keyboards, judging from a freshly-granted patent for an “Ultra low travel keyboard” published today.
According to AppleInsider, Apple’s US Patent No. 9,178,509 granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office describes a QWERTY input tool lacking the physical switches that have long been standard in computer keyboards. Instead, each key would have its own force sensor beneath the cap – which could both trim the Mac’s necessary thickness and enable many new key gestures.
A move towards Force Touch keyboards in future Macs could certainly help Apple to further refine the minimalist aesthetic that, driven particularly by veteran lead designer Jony Ive, has become one of the company’s instantly recognisable style staples. It could also speed up typing of uppercase and special characters through reducing or removing the need for a separate Shift key.
In fact, it isn’t outside the realms of possibility that Apple could go even further by implementing the more advanced 3D Touch technology that it debuted with this year’s iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. Watch – or, should we say, lightly or firmly press – this space…