Patent applications show Apple has considered adding Touch Bar to Magic Keyboard

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
The Touch Bar, Apple's thin touchscreen display above the keyboard on the MacBook Pro, could make an appearance on other Apple peripherals, with recently-published patent application illustrations revealing a version of the Touch Bar has been considered for the Magic Keyboard accessory.




Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday were three patent applications, with 20170090596, 20170090597, and 20170090654 all identified as a "Keyboard with Adaptive Input Row." The applications describe Apple's Touch Bar interface, a compact screen that offers extra commands the user can trigger, changing based on the application and the task the user is performing.

While the patent application largely covers how the Touch Bar works, the drawings accompanying the description illustrate how it can be used alongside a standard keyboard, including the MacBook Pro and another separate keyboard accessory. The two pictures showing off this peripheral, including one in front of a display, suggests Apple has looked into creating a version of the Magic Keyboard that uses the Touch Bar.

Despite appearing within a patent application, it is possible that Apple included the separate keyboard image to allow the application to cover as many areas as possible with the technology. The inclusion is also not a guarantee that Apple will bring out a Touch Bar-enabled Magic Keyboard in the future, but at least offers the possibility it could happen in the future.

The three patent applications were all filed in September 2016, with ten people credited as inventors.




Introduced as part of the 2016 MacBook Pro, the Touch Bar replaces the top row of F-keys with an OLED panel, which is used to provide contextually relevant controls, such as word suggestions in a word processor or a timeline slider for video editing applications. The MacBook Pro is the only Apple product to include the Touch Bar so far, but it has been previously rumored Apple will expand its use of the technology into standalone keyboards, if it was proven to be a good concept.

In December 2016, the Duet Display second-screen app gave owners of other Mac systems the ability to use the Touch Bar, by including a virtual version of the interface.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,817member
    I wonder what that will cost? I'm guessing that people will complain about the price.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 43
    ...backlighting would be most welcome here, even better if it synced with Night Shift in suit...
    Fatman
  • Reply 3 of 43
    FatmanFatman Posts: 93member
    The more out there, the more support from developers. They should include them with all new iMacs.
    frankiewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,817member
    ...backlighting would be most welcome here, even better if it synced with Night Shift in suit…
    I'd say that's likely considering the power requirement for the backlight being minima compared to the power requirements for running OS X on a keyboard with its own OLED display that need to be quickly match what the user does on the Mac's display.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 43
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 2,704member
    Soli said:
    I wonder what that will cost? I'm guessing that people will complain about the price.
    That and that it won't support their 2007 iMac or something. I wouldn't be surprised if when this does come out (and I think it will), it will only support Macs from the past year or two. 
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 122member
    (warning: this could be complete nonsense)

    I have heard that it is unlikely for TouchID to ever come to an external keyboard, because the entire platform depends on tight coupling between the "secure enclave" and the rest of the computer. This is why TouchID became inoperable on iPhones repaired by third parties for a period. 

    Of course, Touch ID did re-become repairable by outside shops, so maybe tat was malarky.

    That aside, if the Touch Bar ever does take off, I think it's more likely to do so through studio designers and artists. I spend a fair amount of time working with graphic designers, and the vast majority use desktop computers. Most notebook users I know are developers, and I don't see the Touch Bar ever becoming "a thing" in this world. (I say that as a developer who has one and even uses it)
  • Reply 7 of 43
    I'd definitely buy this. Can't think what's been taking them so long.

    The only downside I can imagine is that Apple seems determined to deny people a built in numeric keypad. I use mine lots as my job involves a lot of numbers, and it's much faster on a keypad than across the top of the keyboard. Quite why Apple don't sell a wireless full size keyboard (with or without touch bar) is utterly beyond me...
    mike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 43
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,006member
    Battery life would be the biggest technical hurdle to overcome I would think.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,817member
    macxpress said:
    Soli said:
    I wonder what that will cost? I'm guessing that people will complain about the price.
    That and that it won't support their 2007 iMac or something. I wouldn't be surprised if when this does come out (and I think it will), it will only support Macs from the past year or two. 
    What Macs does Apple Pay and remote unlock support via Apple Watch? That might be a baseline to consider for security. The other issue is bandwidth for the keyboard display, but I think BT High-Speed should suffice.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,187member
    Seems logical for a Mac Pro or iMac ... almost a DUH moment.
    frankiewatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,817member
    MacPro said:
    Seems logical for a Mac Pro or iMac ... almost a DUH moment.
    Sure, but there are additional hurdles not found in the MBP that increase many factors.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 43
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,187member
    Geez. I'd be happy with a wireless extended keyboard.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 43
    brifbrif Posts: 4member
    I bet there will be no Touch-ID as to not introduce points of failure into the secure platform. Battery life concerns aside, I think the price will be about $200+, given that it essentially has an Apple watch inside. Not an unreasonable price at all.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,817member
    brif said:
    I bet there will be no Touch-ID as to not introduce points of failure into the secure platform. Battery life concerns aside, I think the price will be about $200+, given that it essentially has an Apple watch inside. Not an unreasonable price at all.
    They've already tackled the security aspect. Think of how the Apple Watch can unlock your Mac and how your Mac can your other devices for Apple Pay. Now consider that the keyboard will run its own version of OS X, just like it does on the T1-chip for the Touch Bar. That part's already there, the hard part is keeping costs down when. you have so much new tech, and you need a much larger battery than it currently has and much higher bandwidth for the keyboard display. That's their biggest challenge here.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 43
    edac2edac2 Posts: 4member
    Soli said:
    I wonder what that will cost? I'm guessing that people will complain about the price.
    Who wouldn't? The latest non-backlit Magic Keyboard is $99 and it doesn't even have a numeric keypad. Add a TouchBar and I could easily see the price jump to $149.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,817member
    edac2 said:
    Soli said:
    I wonder what that will cost? I'm guessing that people will complain about the price.
    Who wouldn't? The latest non-backlit Magic Keyboard is $99 and it doesn't even have a numeric keypad. Add a TouchBar and I could easily see the price jump to $149.
    LOL I think you're very optimistic if you think it'll only be a $49 bump for a new keyboard with an OLED display, Touch ID, Apple Pay, the Secure Element and Secure Enclave for each, the Apple-deisnged T1-chip, increased wireless speed for that OLED display, a much larger battery for all that new HW, and all of it running OS X on the a keyboard.
    edited April 4 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 43
    Sounds logical to me....I may be stating the obvious but in seems to me Apple is trying to have a very definitive differentiation in their product lines. One entry-level MacBook and a couple of  MacBook Pro(s), One entry-level iPad and a couple iPad Pro(s). One entry-level iPhone Se and a couple of iPhone 7's. One entry-level 21" iMac and a couple of 27" iMac Pro's with better displays/TouchBar, etc.

    The wealthiest company in the world and they have about 9 items in their product line...amazing.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,187member
    Soli said:
    MacPro said:
    Seems logical for a Mac Pro or iMac ... almost a DUH moment.
    Sure, but there are additional hurdles not found in the MBP that increase many factors.
    Not disagreeing, I just can't think of any reasons this would not work the same way?  Can you elaborate please?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 43
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,187member

    Sounds logical to me....I may be stating the obvious but in seems to me Apple is trying to have a very definitive differentiation in their product lines. One entry-level MacBook and a couple of  MacBook Pro(s), One entry-level iPad and a couple iPad Pro(s). One entry-level iPhone Se and a couple of iPhone 7's. One entry-level 21" iMac and a couple of 27" iMac Pro's with better displays/TouchBar, etc.

    The wealthiest company in the world and they have about 9 items in their product line...amazing.
    It is in their D .... No I can't say it.  ;)

     It does all go back to the return of SJ when he inherited the ludicrous number of products Apple had back then and cleaned house.  Keep it simple stupid sure worked.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,817member
    MacPro said:
    Soli said:
    MacPro said:
    Seems logical for a Mac Pro or iMac ... almost a DUH moment.
    Sure, but there are additional hurdles not found in the MBP that increase many factors.
    Not disagreeing, I just can't think of any reasons this would not work the same way?  Can you elaborate please?
    My two previous comments cover the issues.
    watto_cobra
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