A MacBook with a touchscreen keyboard is the best (or worst) idea ever

Some people think it’s bonkers, some people think it’s neat - either way, it’s Thinking Different

The iPhone 7 Plus and its fancy dual camera setup isn’t the only Apple product getting the rumour treatment. The MacBook world has some tasty gossip for us too.

New whispers have fluttered across the interwebs, fuelled by a recently published Apple patent application which shows off a new MacBook design which rather bravely kills off the physical keyboard.

In the patent, the keyboard has instead been replaced with a giant trackpad - illuminated from below with micro-perforations and covered with a clear liquid sealant to prevent dust or debris falling through - which features the same 3D Touch technology found in the iPhone 6s’ display.

This means it’ll be sensitive enough to detect how hard you’re pressing on it, which could result in innovative features such as hard-pressing to enter a capital letter.

The trackpad would also be able to adjust its design and layout depending on what you’re doing. Working with a spreadsheet can bring up a virtual number pad for example, while typing an essay out in Word will stick with more traditional keys.

Throw in custom Photoshop tool keys or gaming controls, and you've got a morphing keyboard tailor-made for any situation. Not too shabby.

This change, though radical, could appeal to a wider audience of MacBook users thanks to its flexibility, though we’re not entirely convinced what it’ll be like on the comfort and accuracy front.

Touchscreen keyboards are notoriously worse than their physical counterparts, and even with Apple’s fancy vibrating Taptic Engine sitting beneath the hood to simulate actual key presses, it’ll take a lot of getting used to.

As always, the usual patent caveat applies - this might take years to see the light of day, or it could just as easily join the rest of Apple’s overzealous ideas, banished to the depths of its Cupertino HQ’s patent graveyard.

[via Forbes]