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Apple patents dynamically-lit keyboard concept

updated 12:20 pm EST, Thu January 3, 2008

Dynamically-lit keyboard

A second Apple patent application, published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office, shows a new keyboard design that may change how some future Macs operate. Each key in the new layout has multiple OLED lights, which are tied to application-specific integrated circuits; the lights can form symbols specific to a command, and may in some cases be animated, across individual individual keys as well as whole groups. An unspecified form of tactile feedback may also be present.

The concept bears a resemblance to Art Lebedev's Optimus Maximus keyboard, which has yet to be released, but which also features dynamic OLED lights that respond to different program contexts. Were Apple to follow in Lebedev's tracks, users would, for instance, be able to hit keys specifically tailored to functions in Final Cut Pro, or switch between languages and see the results displayed in front of them. The current problem with Lebedev's keyboard is cost however, as it is on pre-order for $462. Apple would likely have to use a much cheaper implementation in a mass-marketed product.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    A basic backlit keyboard

    ...aka macbook pro would be a welcome addition for me...

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: basic backlit

    Basic backlit keyboards are already available.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    hmmm

    . Were Apple to follow in Lebedev's tracks, users would, for instance, be able to hit keys specifically tailored to functions in Final Cut Pro, or switch between languages and see the results displayed in front of them.

    If Apple were to follow in Lebedev's tracks, wouldn't they be sued for Patent infringement?

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: The current problem w

    The current problem with Lebedev's keyboard is cost however...

    How about availability..

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Perfect for running Windo

    An Apple keyboard that changed its appearance (and function) would be perfect for creating a Windows capable keyboard for running Vista via BootCamp.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    and then...

    we can finally get a keyboard with fully functioning Print Screen, Scroll Lock, and Pause/Break buttons!

    Now if only someone could find a use for them.....

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    price

    that optimus keyboard for $462 has only one single dynamic light button while the version with all buttons lighted costs almost $2000

  1. stwf

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    the best you can do?

    Man, that seems like alot of trouble for a keyboard that can switch localizations (maybe used a handful of times), or could be a windows keyboard (the system preferences can switch the command and option keys for you).

    Its very hard to believe those reasons would make this worth creating.

  1. JohnnyFive

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: the best you can do?

    it means apple doesn't have to manufacture localized versions of their laptops (french, german, english, dutch, etc). it means a streamlined production line.

  1. JohnnyFive

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: the best you can do?

    it means apple doesn't have to manufacture localized versions of their laptops (french, german, english, dutch, etc). it means a streamlined production line.

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