Apple wants to reinvent keyboards, making them even thinner

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Comments

  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tjwal View Post


    The keyboard is over 100 years old. I keep hoping someone will come up with a completely different input device.



    They have, many times. The trouble is they just don't catch on.



    Even just changing the layout of the keys on the existing standard keyboard can increase typing speeds by huge amounts. There are also many different variations on two handed keyboards, chorded keyboards, and others that look like they dropped out of some alien spaceship that are all proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be more efficient and better designed.



    The catch is you have to re-train yourself to use them and basically no one wants to do that.



    Maybe now we have soft, virtual keyboards the evolution will go a bit faster. For instance anyone who has typed a lot on an iPhone should be able to see what an unmitigated disaster it is to have the U, I, and O keys side by side under the right-hand thumb considering how many words can be completely transformed by picking the wrong one.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,753member
    People are thinking laptops here which is probable, but a clam shell iPad with a keyboard would have a following. The keyboard would have to disappear on the iPad when users don't want it, but it would make for a very handy iPad. Sometimes I think a keyboard that sticks via iOads magnets would be nice.
  • mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 480member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    People are thinking laptops here which is probable, but a clam shell iPad with a keyboard would have a following. The keyboard would have to disappear on the iPad when users don't want it, but it would make for a very handy iPad. Sometimes I think a keyboard that sticks via iOads magnets would be nice.



    perhaps a very small following—they're called notepads or notebooks.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Personally I don't care much for any of Apples input devices, keyboards or mice.



    Aesthetically pleasing - Ha, good one!



    Like the old crumb catcher keyboard from 2008 - that was a beauty.
  • auxioauxio Posts: 1,669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Panu View Post


    New is not always better: The trackball is newer than the mouse, but only a few people use one.



    I personally think a thumb trackball mouse is the optimal design. Once you get used to it, it's far more precise using discrete thumb movements rather than whole hand movements to control the cursor (either via a rollerball/optical mouse or a trackpad). And the thumb is strong enough for long periods of use (unlike other fingers).



    Obviously direct contact with the screen is the most precise, but the weight of your arms becomes a factor over time. Not to mention the fingerprints accumulating on your screen.
  • macarenamacarena Posts: 325member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Maybe now we have soft, virtual keyboards the evolution will go a bit faster. For instance anyone who has typed a lot on an iPhone should be able to see what an unmitigated disaster it is to have the U, I, and O keys side by side under the right-hand thumb considering how many words can be completely transformed by picking the wrong one.



    This is just such a big area waiting to be explored - and Apple is possibly the one company that is ideally positioned to do it.



    What if Apple came up with a new keyboard layout - that would be optimized to work with Auto-correction - so that there would be a much higher probability that any mistakes that you make while typing can be rectified automatically by the system? Because of touchscreen keyboards, it would be easy for Apple to offer this as an option on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch - and because of the sheer volumes of these products, it would likely catch on relatively quickly.



    For their desktop models, where people are still used to tactile feedback, Apple can give people 2 options - a super cheap multitouch glass panel that can automatically display a custom keyboard for specific tasks - and an OLED based button keyboard, where the text on the buttons can be changed as per the keyboard layout selected - for those who still insist on tactile feedback. Of course the OLED based keyboard would be more expensive, but I think people would still find it extremely useful.



    Such a virtual keyboard would allow special functionality - like color selection in Painting apps, tool selection in literally any app, and literally work out as the best way to interact with a vertical screen. Obviously, the vertical screen is not suitable for touch, so a multitouch horizontal keyboard is the next best option.



    Such a configurable keyboard will also make Macs truly international - because they will be able to support native keyboards for any language!



    The success of a product like Swype shows that people are OK with mastering newer typing skills to suit touch screens. So a new keyboard layout that is specifically optimized to work with autocorrect might not be as far fetched an idea as one would think.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by walletinspector View Post


    'polished meteorite'?








    Apple is patenting everything they can think of, even though they have no plans to ever manufacture it.



    Their strategy seems to be to prevent these technologies from ever seeing the light of day.



    Hey - if the patent trolls do it, why not Apple?
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,115member




    "Hello computer?"

    Just use the keyboard."

    "Keyboard? How quaint."



    And that is why we have transparent aluminum, Jonathan Ive's favorite material.
  • alvinsmithalvinsmith Posts: 4member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    I believe you are confused about what LiquidMetal ® is. I don't see how it has any relation to this story.



    Well, the SIM eject tool that came with the older iPhones were supposedly "LiquidMetal." Anything Apple makes they need to make in very high quantities at a relatively low cost. My understanding is that the LiquidMetal alloy can be made faster than say aluminum.
  • shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Transparent? No way. I want one of these



    Glass keyboards haven't taken off coz they look nice but they're not very comfortable to use. I couldn't use my iPad keyboard for any length of time.



    If they could come up a way of making the virtual keys softer to touch with a little give and some feedback it would be fantastic. You could have a completely blank keyboard that changes according to what application or language you're using.
  • tjwaltjwal Posts: 404member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Panu View Post


    Wheels are round and have been for a lot longer than 100 years. Isn't about time for them to be square?



    Sometimes things have been around for a long time because they are really good ideas. New is not always better: The trackball is newer than the mouse, but only a few people use one. Old is not always bad: If you are in a cubicle and you want to write a mushy email to your beloved, you don't want voice input.



    An automobile manufacturer thought that gear shift levers had been around too long, so they replaced them with push buttons. That is why every car today has push buttons instead of a gear shift lever.



    The age of a successful solution doesn't matter. "Successful" and "solution" do matter.



    True, but traveling by Airplane is so much better than bumping along the ground using wheels. Likewise, inputting words or numbers using the tips of our fingers is cumbersome. I don't really want to start talking to my computer either. I'm just hoping that a better way will be developed in my lifetime.
  • richardlwolffrichardlwolff Posts: 4member
    Agree, insane attention to detail.
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,162member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    Glass keyboards haven't taken off coz they look nice but they're not very comfortable to use. I couldn't use my iPad keyboard for any length of time.



    If they could come up a way of making the virtual keys softer to touch with a little give and some feedback it would be fantastic. You could have a completely blank keyboard that changes according to what application or language you're using.



    Yes, for all but writing I think a glass multi-touch surface is superior. Maybe there will be some kind of overlay to give a better touch experience? though the idea of an overlay seems wrong.



    But I'm all for thinner. The travel on a new Apple keyboard almost seems excessive now that I also use the iPad a lot. Touch feed-back is nice but little is required to be enough. I'm favouring Kryptonite right now but my guess is that it would be a marketing own goal. People would just roll their eyes and put it down to ott marketing.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,492member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    You could have a completely blank keyboard that changes according to what application or language you're using.



    That's what the Optimus Tactus intends to bring to the table:



  • desarcdesarc Posts: 642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Panu View Post


    Wheels are round and have been for a lot longer than 100 years. Isn't about time for them to be square?



    Sometimes things have been around for a long time because they are really good ideas.



    the QWERTY keyboard is [and was intentionally designed to be] a square wheel.

    We should move to the DVORAK keyboard. the only reason we use QWERTY is because typewriters used to jam because people were typing too fast w/ early DVORAK versions. QWERTY slowed us all down, and has led to millions of repetitive use injuries.
  • pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tjwal View Post


    True, but traveling by Airplane is so much better than bumping along the ground using wheels. Likewise, inputting words or numbers using the tips of our fingers is cumbersome. I don't really want to start talking to my computer either. I'm just hoping that a better way will be developed in my lifetime.



    Mind control? They're already working on that and it seems to be the best solution. Most can think faster than they can write, type, or speak. Of course some do the previous without thinking...
  • pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    Yes, for all but writing I think a glass multi-touch surface is superior. Maybe there will be some kind of overlay to give a better touch experience? though the idea of an overlay seems wrong.



    But I'm all for thinner. The travel on a new Apple keyboard almost seems excessive now that I also use the iPad a lot. Touch feed-back is nice but little is required to be enough. I'm favouring Kryptonite right now but my guess is that it would be a marketing own goal. People would just roll their eyes and put it down to ott marketing.



    What it each key was its own touch display? It could have some sort of mechanical travel. I'm guessing cost would be prohibitive.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,492member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post


    What it each key was its own touch display? It could have some sort of mechanical travel. I'm guessing cost would be prohibitive.



    Oh, you mean this? This $1,000+ monstrosity?







    Yeah, cost is prohibitive. I like the Steve Jobs key on the middle far right, though.
  • sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,633member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    [...] The application includes a number of potential off-the-wall materials that could be used, like glass, wood, stone, and even "polished meteorite." [...]



    I've been wanting glass keycaps for years. Sick of plastic already. And, in theory, using glass for they keys as well as the frame of the keyboard would enable sensing multi-touch and swipe gestures directly on the keyboard. It could eliminate the need for a separate trackpad.



    Try this: next time you're using your desktop or laptop, count the number of times you move your hand from keyboard to mouse and back again. Takes about 1 second each way. You probably do it dozens of times per hour. Then imagine how much faster it would be to simply lift your fingers and gesture directly on the keyboard surface itself with one, two, three, or four fingers from one (or both) hands. Far less wasted motion.



    But fundamentally, an ultra-thin keyboard with 0.2mm of key movement would be perfect for an ultra-thin MacBook Air. Making the keyboard thinner is one of the few remaining challenges.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I wonder if alkali-aluminosilicate sheet glass would allow it to be thin and feel great to the touch. The letter could and allow light to shine through well. I only worry about the edge of the keys feeling right.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ilogic View Post


    This is a good segue for the keyboard, I personally thought they were going straight to multitouch panels, sort of a like a Nintendo DS.



    I don't see that happening since it reduces usability when there is plenty of space for a keyboard. However, making an AMOLED display that would be black most of the time (use no power) and then have options for stock ticker, system info, notifications, slider controls for audio and video apps, an on screen number pad, or calculator would be great. No need for anything high def like on a phone. Dell as worked on a prototype for their Adamo line but you need a company that can work with HW the OS and create APIs to make it useful. That's Apple. That only Apple.
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