Apple eyeing ways to make keyboards thinner
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apple eyeing ways to make keyboards thinner

An Apple patent (number 20120043191) for a single support keyboard mechanism at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office shows that the company is working on new, thinner keyboard for its portable Macs -- and perhaps desktop Macs, as well.

A keyboard mechanism for a low-travel keyboard and methods of fabrication are described. The low-travel keyboard is suitable for a thin-profile computing device, such as a laptop computer, netbook computer, desktop computer, etc. The keyboard includes a key cap that can be formed of a variety of materials in the form of a flat slab. The key cap is attached to one end of a support lever that supports it from underneath. In one embodiment, the support lever is formed of a rigid material and is pivotally coupled with a substrate on the other end.

In another embodiment, the support lever is formed of a flexible material and is fixedly attached to the substrate on the other end. The portion of the support lever that is attached to the key cap is positioned over a metal dome that can be deformed to activate the switch circuitry of the membrane on printed circuit board underneath the dome. The inventors are Patrick Kessler, Bradley Joseph Hamel and James. J. Niu.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "The described embodiments relate generally to peripheral devices for use with computing devices and similar information processing devices. More particularly, the present embodiments relate a thin profile, aesthetically pleasing keyboard well suited for use with computing devices, and methods of assembling such thin profile, aesthetically pleasing keyboards.

"The outward appearance, as well as functionality, of a computing device and its peripheral devices is important to a user of the computing device. In particular, the outward appearance of a computing device and peripheral devices, including their design and heft, is important, as the outward appearance contributes to the overall impression that the user has of the computing device. One design challenge associated with these devices, especially with portable computing devices, generally arises from a number of conflicting design goals, including the desirability of making the device attractive, smaller, lighter, and thinner while maintaining user functionality.

"Therefore, it would be beneficial to provide a keyboard for a portable computing device that is aesthetically pleasing, yet still provides the stability for each key that users desire. It would also be beneficial to provide methods for manufacturing the keyboard having an especially aesthetic design as well as functionality for the portable computing device.

"This paper describes various embodiments that relate to systems, methods, and apparatus for providing a trapdoor keyboard mechanism for a low-travel footprint keyboard that allows the use of aesthetically pleasing key caps and also provides key stability for use in computing applications.

"According to one embodiment, a thin profile keyboard for a computing device is described. The keyboard includes a plurality of keys arranged in a plurality of rows. Each row includes a plurality of keys and the keys in a first row are offset from the keys in a second row. Each key includes a key cap and an actuator attached to a base plate. The actuator is configured to deform to activate electrical switch circuitry when it is deformed. A portion of a rigid support lever is positioned over the actuator, which can be a metal dome.

"The support lever has one end that is attached to a bottom surface of the key cap and a second end that is attached to a substrate at a pivot point. When a force is applied to the top surface of the key cap, the force causes the support lever to rotate about the pivot point, causing a bottom surface of the support lever to contact and deform the actuator. In an embodiment, the key cap can be in the form of a flat slab. An elastomeric spacer may be provided on the support lever over the metal dome such that the elastomeric spacer deforms the metal dome when the key is depressed by a user.

"The use of a single support lever allows the key cap to be simply adhered to the support lever and the support lever also reduces instability when the key is depressed by a user. As the key cap can be adhered to the support lever, intricate attachment features on the underside of the key cap are unnecessary, thereby allowing the key cap to be formed of a variety of materials, including glass and metal.

"A method of assembling at least a portion of a low-travel keyboard for a computing device is disclosed. The method can be carried out by the following operations: providing a metal dome configured to deform when depressed from above, disposing a support lever over the metal dome, and adhering a key cap to the support lever. The metal dome can activate electrical switch circuitry of the keyboard when the metal dome is deformed. The support lever is coupled with a substrate at a point on a first end of the support lever.

"The bottom of the key cap is adhered to a top surface of the second end of the support lever, which is positioned over the metal dome to deform the dome when depressed from above. In an embodiment, the support lever is formed of a rigid material and is pivotally coupled to the substrate such that the support lever deforms the metal dome when the support lever is depressed from above, as the support lever rotates slightly about the pivot point where it is coupled to the substrate. In another embodiment, the support lever is formed of a flexible material and fixedly coupled to the substrate on one end."

 
AAPL
$519.01
Apple Inc.
+0.00
MSFT
$40.40
Microsoft Corpora
+0.00
GOOG
$556.54
Google Inc.
+0.00

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

PDFpenPro 6.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit for...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
Monolingual 1.5.9 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1.1.1.180...
Download the patch by launching the Starcraft II game and downloading it through the Battle.net connection within the app. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a strategy game played in real-time. You... Read more
Sibelius 7.5.0 - Music notation solution...
Sibelius is the world's best-selling music notation software for Mac. It is as intuitive to use as a pen, yet so powerful that it does most things in less than the blink of an eye. The demo includes... Read more
Typinator 5.9 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.16 - Create inventories...
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
TurboTax 2013.r17.002 - Manage your 2013...
TurboTax guides you through your tax return step by step, does all the calculations, and checks your return for errors and overlooked deductions. It lets you file your return electronically to get... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.769 - Route planning for...
Note: While the software is classified as freeware, it is actually donationware. Please consider making a donation to help support development. TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Unpossible (Games)
Unpossible 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: **Important** Requires at least iPad 2, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch (5th gen), or newer. | Read more »
Hitman GO (Games)
Hitman GO 1.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.2 (iTunes) Description: Get your daily fix of Agent 47 with this elegant, strategy-based Hitman game! | Read more »
The Seventh Sign: Hodappy Bird Released...
The Seventh Sign: Hodappy Bird Released on the App Store Posted by Jeff Scott on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Rogue Heroes (Games)
Rogue Heroes 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Rogue Heroes is awesome fast-paced 2D action-platforming roguelike game with RPG elements. - explore the depth of procedurally... | Read more »
Fourcast Review
Fourcast Review By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: VIDEO POTENTIALiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Fourcast is a great idea for combining video clips, but it does lack a number of... | Read more »
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Avail...
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Available on the U.S. App Store Right Now – Gogogogo! Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Grammar Pop HD Review
Grammar Pop HD Review By Jennifer Allen on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FUN LEARNINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Learning the different parts of speech isn’t always fun, but Grammar Pop HD makes it much more... | Read more »
Groundskeeper2 Review
Groundskeeper2 Review By Nadia Oxford on April 16th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SLICE THOSE ALIEN SLIMEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Putting aside some minor control issues, Groundskeeper2 is a fun and furious action/... | Read more »
Pinnacle Studio for iPhone (Photography...
Pinnacle Studio for iPhone 5.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $9.99, Version: 5.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Season 3 of Zombies, Run! Starts Right N...
Season 3 of Zombies, Run! | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Microsoft Blinks – Drops Microsoft Office 365...
Microsoft has dropped the annual subscription fee for Microsoft Office 365 Personal – which is needed in order to create and edit documents in Microsoft Office for iPad. However, Apple’s iOS and OS X... Read more
New AVG Vault Apps for iOS and Android Help K...
AVG Technologies N.V. an online security company for 177 million active users, has announced the launch of its latest mobile application, AVG Vault. The free app introduces an innovative user... Read more
Free Local Carrot iPhone App Helps Find Fresh...
I love fresh vegetables. I’m not a vegan, although I was for several years in the 1980s, but fresh vegetables and other whole foods are still my dietary mainstays as a matter of taste rather than... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Airs available startin...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. The following Airs are available today: -... Read more
21-inch 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179, save $...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 2.7GHz iMac on sale for $1179 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Add an iMac to your shopping cart, and B&H will offer an... Read more
Download our app, iTracx, for iOS and Android
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
Education discounts shave up to $300 off the...
Purchase a new Mac at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and all... Read more
Save $50 on Mac mini Server
B&H Photo has the 2012 Mac mini Server on sale for $949 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
PhatWare’s “Ultimate Writing App For iOS” Ren...
PhatWare Corp. has announced it has renamed its new WritePro word processing app for iPhone and iPad: WritePad Pro. The decision to change the app’s name to leverages the strong brand awareness and... Read more
Full Resolution Photo Editor Tint Mint 1.0 Re...
California based independent developer, Jeffrey Sun, creator of the iOS app Modern Editor, has released Tint Mint, a new photography app for editing enthusiasts. The app costs a dollar, and it packs... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Manager - Holyoke - Apple I...
Job Summary Keeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you’re a master of them all. In the store’s fast-paced, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - Apple (United Sta...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Market Leader - Cincinnati...
…challenges of developing individuals, building teams, and affecting growth across Apple Stores. You demonstrate successful leadership ability - focusing on excellence Read more
*Apple* Retail - Manager - SoHo - Apple (Uni...
Job SummaryKeeping an Apple Store thriving requires a diverse set of leadership skills, and as a Manager, you're a master of them all. In the store's fast-paced, dynamic Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.