Apple has secured a patent for a dual-display MacBook with a virtual keyboard and wireless smartphone recharging, among other features.
In its description, Apple imagines replacing the MacBook’s conventional keyboard deck with a touch display that can morph into a wide range of configurations.
Because its keys will be virtual, they can be rearranged or changed with lettering and symbols for different languages.
Alternatively, the keyboard can be set in an ergonomic configuration or adapted to a virtual UI for gaming controls.
The figures below illustrate the basic design of the virtual keyboard and some of the above-mentioned use-cases.
Users will also be able to switch the placement of the keyboard and trackpad around to better suit their input preferences.
One figure also showed several Touch ID sensors, a fingerprint reader, and a wireless charging dock near the bottom of the virtual interface.
Apple noted the Touch ID could include biometric sensors for detecting palm or wrist prints and performing heart rate and blood oxygen level measurements.
These sensors can then also could detect when a person is typing to reject inputs.
Apple also states the bottom display will support touch gestures that are used on iOS.
Another version of the design features a peripheral input unit that lets the user insert a device, like a joystick.
It’s not clear whether Apple plans to introduce an actual dual-display MacBook that includes some of these features.
Rumours currently suggest the new MacBook Pro that is expected to launch before the end of 2021 will do away with the only touch screen currently available on the laptop — its Touch Bar.
It is also reportedly going to feature new ports and a main MiniLED display.