New Apple patent hints at thinner MacBook Pros with retractable keyboard

Apple MacBook Pro could be thinner in the future, hints a new patent by Apple, which talks about a retractable keyboard. The keyboard will have a “selectively magnetizable system” under the keys that will let it retract when the MacBook is closed.  When in use, the keys will pop out and function as intended.

“While the keys may need to be free to move when the computer is in use (e.g., to allow a user to type), the additional height requirements of the movable keys leads to a larger overall device size. Accordingly, described herein are key retraction systems and methods by which the keys may be retracted when the device is being stored (or in other modes),” as per the patent filed by Apple with the US Patent and Trademark Office (via Patently Apple).

The retractable keys on MacBook Pro will essentially take advantage of a magnetizable material that will either attract or repel a keycap, which will help reduce the overall size/height of the keyboard. Simply put, this means thinner MacBook models. The patent also includes sketches that showcase a MacBook using the magnetic keyboard design.

However, do keep in mind that the patent is no indication that we will see the design on MacBooks soon. Typically, companies regularly file patents that may or may not make it to the final design of their products. It could be that Apple is only experimenting with the idea as of now, but whether we get to see this in a MacBook soon is something we will need to wait and watch.

Meanwhile, Apple is gearing up to launch its new MacBook Pro, which according to well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), will feature significant design changes. The most notable is a flat display similar to the Apple iPhone 12, instead of a curved screen as seen on the previous models.

“It will be the most significant design update to the MacBook Pro in the last five years,” Kuo noted. Apple is also said to replace the OLED Touch Bar with physical function keys in its next-generation MacBook Pro model. The MagSafe charging connector design will be restored as well and Apple will add additional ports in addition to a USB Type-C port.

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