Apple may be working on a new MacBook with a full keyboard but no physical keys.
The device in question seems to be a completely flat, empty surface featuring a board of spaces with tiny holes that react like keys when you press them.
This kind of input is referred to as “zero-travel” in the patent, which reportedly means there would be no moving parts like there are when you press typical button-like keys.
The keyboard would apparently be equipped with sensors allowing the keys to react to the light touch of your fingers.
Instead of protruding like buttons, each key would be represented by lights emitting from below the surface, the patent says.
You would also then be able to arrange these non-button keys in different ways as well as alter their sizes.
That function could be most useful for people who work with numbers and would prefer a calculator-like arrangement of the number keys.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a computer without a keyboard is the elimination of the possibility of getting dirt or dust under the keys and endangering the entire system.
According to Pocket-lint, a layer of an unspecified material will cover the touch-sensitive surface, preventing even the tiniest particle of dirt or moisture from getting into the computer.
There's no guarantee this technology will ever become a reality, however, since Apple's filed many patents that have so far gone unfulfilled.
But, the idea does coincide with Apple's longtime quest to produce devices with few, if any, physical elements.
If the company was to reach that ultimate goal, we all might be using computers featuring holographic screens that can be manipulated by dragging graphics via touch like Tony Stark does in "Iron Man."