As per the patent documents accessed by
Patently Apple, “The dynamic labels may be generated using dynamically reconfigurable label displaying components such as organic light-emitting diode displays with arrays of pixels, electrophoretic displays with arrays of pixels, or other pixel arrays.”
(Image by: Patently Apple)
Apart from languages, another interesting thing with a “reconfigurable” keyboard is that video editors, programmers, gamers and others may configure their own keys as per their liking. Adding a display to the keypad doesn’t mean that Apple will convert the keyboard into a touch screen. Apple wants to keep the experience of typing as it is but wants to make the keypad more helpful. This makes sense as there are many keys on everyone’s keyboard that are rarely used.
Explaining Apple’s new keypad patent application, a report by
Patently Apple claims, “The user may, for example, desire to switch a keyboard between a first format (e.g., an English-language format) and a second format (e.g., a Greek-language format). In response to user input to switch the keyboard, control circuitry in an electronic device can adjust the key labels being displayed by the key displays from English letters to Greek letters, thereby switching the keyboard from the first format to the second format”.
It would be quite interesting to see how Apple actually implements this technology. Apple will most likely deploy this new type of keypads for Mac desktops along with MacBooks.