Apple reportedly filed a new patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent is for a keyboard with detachable keys that doubles as a precision mouse, and it will be part of an upcoming MacBook accessory.
In addition, this keyboard is also said to be able to function as a precision mouse for fast screen navigation. Aptly called the Deployable Key Mouse, the patent filing details a description of what the key will look like and its possible performance on a MacBook.
The MacBook’s standard-looking scissor system keyboard will be retained in the new design. But aside from that, the removable lock feature is hidden from view. Embedded in the lock will be a position sensor that can be used as a pointing device to provide convenient, portable and precise pointing input for the PC.
New technology tools will be a boon for precision tasks such as graphic design, computer-aided design, and modeling, as well as editing documents. These tasks are better done with a handheld mouse than a conventional trackpad. However, the patented Deployable Key Mouse will serve the purpose of a mouse without adding any visible baggage to the MacBook.
According to the patent documents, the new keys will be battery powered and will be placed on the edge of the keyboard in a seemingly hidden area. There is no further indication as to whether the key can accomplish some of the other tasks, although the patent filing does not directly indicate that the product will become a reality.
This may just be evidence of future plans that can be modified or discarded altogether before production. Clearly, whatever the case, the key concepts that could be used for future MacBooks will suit the desires of Apple’s customer segment, especially professionals who want precision in their tasks.