What's your keyboard's worst enemy?
The touch-based keyboard system won't just be new, flashy and do cool features but will also be help in the laptop market move forward. While there have been improvements over that time, the keyboard is still very sensitive to any sort of crumbs, dust, or other debris becoming lodged underneath a key.
The patent also sees Apple acknowledge the debris problem as they note, "residues from such liquids, such as sugar, may corrode or block electrical contacts [and] prevent key movement by bonding moving parts".
At least according to a patent spotted by Digital Trends, in which Apple describes the laptop keyboard concept, noting that: "A keyboard assembly [could include] a substrate, a key cap, and a guard structure extending from the key cap that funnels contaminants away from the movement mechanism".
Apple describes a diverse range of solutions to make a keyboard effectively bulletproof to these dangers, which include the likes of gaskets, flaps, brushes or wipers which are designed to block the gaps beneath key caps. It looks like an increment to its TouchBar system which was introduced in 2016 with the MacBook Pro.
Essentially, the patent shows how Apple could make its Butterfly keyboard technology more resistant to various crumb and dust particles that make their way underneath the keyboard design.
Possible keyboard innovations don't stop here, though.
The patent was originally filed in July 2016, but was made public January 18, 2018. As we've seen recently, another patent showed Apple is mulling the idea of giving the MacBook a virtual OLED keyboard. The arrangement is such that the keys can stand up to everyday dust and water abuse without hampering the performance the keys.
And hopefully we'll see the fruits of that labor sooner rather than later.