What's your keyboard's worst enemy?
Fear not, because Apple is on the case and looking at developing a crumb-resistant and spill-proof keyboard for the MacBook. While there have been improvements over that time, the keyboard is still very sensitive to any sort of crumbs, dust, or other debris becoming lodged underneath a key.
As background for the patent, Apple noted that the moving keys of a keyboard can get damaged by liquid or solid particles.
We've all been through this situation before: we get a brand new keyboard only to see the typing experience get worn down by a variety of bad habits (most of them related to eating and drinking while near our computer).
Apple describes a diverse range of solutions to make a keyboard effectively bulletproof to these dangers, which include the likes of gaskets, flaps, brushes or wipers which are designed to block the gaps beneath key caps. The designs in the patent document show some kind of membrane covering the mechanicals of the keys. And the possibility of redirecting the MacBook's fans to 'blast' contaminants away from the keys is also mentioned. It looks like an increment to its TouchBar system which was introduced in 2016 with the MacBook Pro.
The crumby keyboard on MacBooks may soon be replaced with something that actually works.
The application goes on to illustrate how various types of barriers could be put in place that would be able to keep debris from coming in from the side of the key and getting underneath into the actual mechanism.
Possible keyboard innovations don't stop here, though. In one of Apple's MacBook introduction video, Phil Schiller states that the company tried experimenting with touch system integrated into the display but found it to be not in an optimal position. The arrangement is such that the keys can stand up to everyday dust and water abuse without hampering the performance the keys.
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