Your next MacBook could have this unique keyboard feature

MacBook Air 2020
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is stretching its creative muscle again with a patent (via Apple Insider) that describes using True Tone to automatically adjust the backlighting of a MacBook's keyboard. 

Let's backtrack for a second. True Tone, found in Apple's Retina displays, uses sensors to adjust the color and intensity of a MacBook's screen so it can match the ambient lighting in an environment. 

For example, if you're in a dark room, the screen will dim and change to a warmer white balance to reduce the strain on your eyes. Under harsh sunlight, True Tone will adjust the panel to maximum brightness and amplify the colors. 

Now Apple is considering using the technology for its keyboard backlighting. A patent called "Electronic devices having backlit keyboards displays with adjustable white points" describes how the same principles of True Tone can be applied to the keyboard.

"If care is not taken, ambient light changes and changes in the operating settings of components in the laptop computer may cause the appearance of keyboard keys, displays, and other input-output devices to vary in ways that are not visually appealing," the patent reads. 

The concept is pretty simple: use an ambient light sensor to change the brightness and color of the keyboard backlighting to match changes in the environment. The keys could also be linked to the light sensor in the True Tone display and adjusted to match the screen. 

The patent suggests future keyboard could have a light with adjustable colors. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll find a gaming laptop-style RGB keyboard on your next MacBook, but new lighting solutions might offer more flexibility. 

Apple already fixed the biggest problem we had with the Mac keyboard by ditching the Butterfly keys for more traditional scissor-style ones in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air 2020. We don't care what Apple does to the keyboard as long as the 13-inch (or 14-inch?) MacBook Pro 2020 gets the new version. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.