Are you ready to do all of your typing on a touchscreen? Apple has conceived of and patented a special kind of flat keyboard with no physical keys at all that goes well beyond tablets and phones.
The idea of a touchscreen keyboard is not new, but Apple has taken the idea further and made it much more versatile. The Apple "flat surface keyboard" will use a combination of pressure sensitive piezoelectrics and acoustic recognition to better register taps and swipes. It will also be capable of voice and gesture recognition.
Apple kept its options wide open in the patent, detailed on the site Patently Apple, explaining that this keyboard could be made of plastic, metal or the more traditional glass surface. The plastic and metal variants would have a pattern stamped or etched into the surface to identify keys, while the glass version would simply show a graphical interface under the glass.
It's easy to see how this keyboard is a result of the design evolution at Apple. The Trackpad and gesture input for OS X Lion are perfect examples of Apple's increasing interest in getting rid of the mouse and using gestures to control devices. This keyless keyboard is the next logical step, combining the trackpad and the keyboard into one touch-sensitive input system.
Keep in mind that this is just a patent; don't expect the keyboard to appear at the next Apple press event. However, this patent is an indication of the technologies Apple is pursuing, and it looks like traditional keyboards are the next thing Apple plans to phase out.
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via Patently Apple