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."


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

How to build a successful civilisation i...
GodFinger 2 grants you godlike powers, leaving you to raise a civilization of followers. In the spirit of games like Black & White, the GodFinger games will see you building bigger and better villages, developing more advanced technology and... | Read more »
How to get all the crabs in Mr Crab 2
Mr. Crab 2 may look like a cutesy platformer for kids, but if you're the kind of person who likes to complete a game 100%, you'll soon realise that it's a tougher than a crustacean's shell. [Read more] | Read more »
How to be a star in Britney Spears: Amer...
If you've ever wanted to be a star, baby, then you've probably already checked out Britney Spears: American Dream and are happily making your way up the charts. But fame doesn't come easy, and everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. So we've got... | Read more »
AppSpy is hiring a part time Staff Write...
| Read more »
How to save lives in ER Surgery Simulato...
A serious earthquake has struck a nearby town in ER Surgery Simulator - Emergency Doctor, and it’s up to you to save the victims. [Read more] | Read more »
Tips and tricks to get a high score in G...
Ketchapp Games loves the endless runner genre. And its newest game, Gravity Switch, is no exception. Gravity Switch takes a fresh approach, though, as you move a block, suspended in zero gravity, safely through a maze of shifting pillars. If the... | Read more »
Tips and tricks to get a high score in S...
Smash Fu is a high-paced tile-tapping game that requires quick reflexes and some practice. You’ll have to smash bricks with the skill of a seasoned black belt to get a high score. To raise the stakes a bit, you’ll also have to avoid tapping any... | Read more »
How to keep the ball rolling in Dropple
If you're new to the minimalist puzzler Dropple, you may find yourself struggling to make it beyond the first couple of steps before your ball falls into the endless abyss below. [Read more] | Read more »
Game Craft releases new Legend of War ti...
Set for release at the end of this month, real time strategy title Legend of War seems sure to delight with a veritable feast of sweet features to get stuck into. Developed by Game Craft, the game is due for release through both the App Store and... | Read more »
How not to die in Traffic Rider
Traffic Rider, an Out Run-esque game in which your ride a motorcycle recklessly into trffic, might not seem particularly complicated. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Textkraft Professional Becomes A Mobile Produ...
The new update 4.1 of Textkraft Professional for the iPad comes with many new and updated features that will be particularly of interest to self-publishers of e-books. Highlights include import and... Read more
SnipNotes 2.0 – Intelligent note-taking for i...
Indie software developer Felix Lisczyk has announced the release and immediate availability of SnipNotes 2.0, the next major version of his productivity app for iOS devices and Apple Watch.... Read more
Pitch Clock – The Entrepreneur’s Wingman Laun...
Grand Rapids, Michigan based Skunk Tank has announced the release and immediate availability of Pitch Clock – The Entrepreneur’s Wingman 1.1, the company’s new business app available exclusively on... Read more
13-inch 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro (model #MF841LL/A) on sale for $1599 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP. Amazon also has the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks available s...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on leftover 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks with models now available starting at $999. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook... Read more
Check Apple prices on any device with the iTr...
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
New 2016 13-inch 256GB MacBook Air on sale fo...
B&H Photo has the new 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (model MMGG2LL/A) on sale for $1149 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s available start...
Apple has Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2 available starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 128GB Wi-Fi iPad Air 2: $499 - 64GB Wi-Fi iPad... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Nissan Service Technicians - Apple A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer...and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
ISCS *Apple* ID Site Support Engineer - APP...
…position, we are looking for an individual who has experience supporting customers with Apple ID issues and enjoys this area of support. This person should be Read more
Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
*Apple* Support Technician II - Worldventure...
…global, fast growing member based travel company, is currently sourcing for an Apple Support Technician II to be based in our Plano headquarters. WorldVentures is Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.