Apple could be making Touch Bar keyboards for more than just the MacBook Pro
The Touch Bar could find a home outside of just the MacBook Pro.
One of Apple’s latest innovations could be making its way to even more keyboards.
A newly granted trio of patents shows Apple might be working to bring its Touch Bar tech to more devices than just the MacBook Pro line. The Touch Bar famously debuted with the 2016 MacBook Pro, replacing the row of function keys with a much more functional super-responsive OLED touch panel.
Since the computer’s release last November, the Touch Bar has been used in countless different ways, from the functional to the frivolous, and it’s proven to be a killer addition to the keyboard we never knew we needed — even if it’s not as sexy as some of Apple’s fanboys would’ve liked. Bringing it to more keyboards is just the next logical step.
The patents, which were unearthed by AppleInsider, all describe the means for creating a "Keyboard with Adaptive Input Row," aka the Touch Bar. The filings appear to be essentially identical.
The text of the patents mostly provide directions for how the touch-controlled tech actually works, rather than its application in different systems — but images included in the filings appear to show it outside of the MacBook Pro’s laptop housing.
The patent shows the Touch Bar integrated into a wireless keyboard design.
Apple’s wireless Magic Keyboard accessory could be the best candidate for Touch Bar treatment. It could become the premier accessory for Apple’s computers — or, the company could decide to release the Touch Bar tech across all of its keyboard lines.
Given Apple’s track record of slow rollouts for new features and tiered product classes, that wholesale adoption is probably unlikely. This is just a patent, anyway, so there’s no way of know if Apple actually has any plans to give any other keyboards the Touch Bar feature.
The latest word out of Cupertino promises a 2018 overhaul to the Mac Pro and a more imminent update to the iMac, which proves that Apple is ready for some shakeups in the computing department — but don’t get too ahead of yourself. Phil Schiller, Apple senior VP of worldwide marketing, promises there will not be touchscreens. Instead, you could just get your touch fix from your keyboard.