Apple's long-term keyboard goal

According to this article ( Apple’s long-term goal is a completely solid-state keyboard, which uses electrostatic charges to allow users to “feel” keys so that touch-typing remains possible] and haptic motors to simulate key presses for the feel of a physical keyboard. How long until new technology like this makes Textblade obsolete? When this technique had been developed even a smaller size keyboard may be possible too.

I’ve not been able to get used to the haptic taps of the new Apple trackpads. I prefer the physical vertical movement of the old style.

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Sounds cool, but, personally, I doubt I’d prefer it to the TextBlade. For one thing, it is more than just the “feel” of the key. There is an advantage to a key actually moving up and down that I don’t think haptics can copy. Think about all the people who say 2 mm travel is better than 1 mm (of course, there are exceptions). Obviously the key itself can feel exactly the same in either case, yet one is generally proferred over the other.

This may not be a good comparison, but I wonder if it is somewhat like jogging. You have a concrete sidewalk and right next to it an asphalt road. Most joggers are on the asphalt! Because it is softer - yet clearly it is darn rigid. Concrete is much tougher on the body!

So I think, as long as keys don’t move, any such keyboard will not feel as pleasant to type on.

As for Apple’s effort go get thinner and thinner, I wonder about that too. Certainly modern laptops look a lot better than their boxy predecessors. But how much is more than really matters?

If you have a present MacBook Air and this concept makes it 1-2 mm thinner, does it matter if it is the same weight? If you had a choice of thinner and the same weight or the same thickness, but lighter, which is more important? I just wonder if, once you reach a certain thinness, being even thinner doesn’t really matter to most people? I look at my old iMac, where the edges of the screen are quite thin - but it still bulges out in the middle. Looks cool, but does it matter, beyond that look? If it was the same depth all around, could it be thinner than the thickest part is now? Could it have better cooling?

I just don’t think thinner always matters.

But then, we live in a world now where a great deal of excitement is given to some new color for an iPhone. :slight_smile:

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I deleted my previous post because people online just don’t take well to contrary points of view. Well, too bad for them. When a company makes a new, tiny keyboard, that is the most portable and usable keyboard to date, there’s going to be a lot of contrary views.

To answer your question: never.

Under their current leadership, Apple values profit over anything else. Think 2 seconds about anything they say, and you realize it is all virtue signalling and driven by profit.

Except for the people in the Silicon division, there is no innovation left. Apple is a hardware company, one that somehow managed to buy back its heart and soul - Mac OS X - from its creator, which they fired.

All the industrial designers that made them who they are - have left. All that remains were some BS photo ops that make it look like they’re all still friends, and that Sir Jony Ive is just a phone call away. But really, would Sir Jony Ive have left if he felt his best work lay ahead of him, and at Apple? Their lead keyboard designers and engineers also left. The leaders who shepherded Mac OS X, gone. Swift, gone.

Apple is no longer fertile ground for new ideas. To sow the seeds of innovation on dead soil is waste of seed. This is why they will not ever surpass Waytools.

You may wonder, “and you have the gall to say the emperor wears no clothes?”


Months ago people debated between the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. My stance is basically, “the Air should not exist. The iPad Pro should run Mac OS X (or macOS if renaming everything makes you happy). The Air is an intentionally wimped out computer so that you will regret it and buy the Pro. They could have put a fan in the Air (there’s room!), but intentionally did not do so, for profit motive. Designed obsolescence.”

Now, months later when people have gotten a chance to spend real time with it:

Jan’s Tech Talk: Comparing H.265 (HEVC) and H.264 video file size

Anyways, for now my conclusion is: always use H.265 and buy a actively cooled MacBook Pro next time :thinking:

If you’ve been around long enough, read enough, you can predict how things will go.

I predict no-one will catch up to Waytools.

Use the past to predict the future (since there is no better predictor).

Waytools is the team from NextEngine.

At least as far back as 2002, they made the world’s best 3D scanner. Museums use it. Hollywood studios with their multimillion dollar budgets use it (and rumor has it, they dropped in on NextEngine personally to thank them for what a game-changer it is).

It’s been darn near 20 years! It remains, strangely, completely unchanged!!! And yet, it is still the best!

How is it that a 3D scanner, in a hyper-competitive market, where “all the rage is 3D” these past years, and a product that shipped 20 years ago, not only is relevant, but market leading?

It is quite simple: if you are willing to do the work that no-one else is willing to do, aimed at producing results as good as physically possible, and, if you survive this crazy world that punishes innovators, then you will lead.

TextBlade is that good. It has Apple crapping themselves, lying their asses off in court, filing BS patents. But Apple, like any company that will fail, suffers greatly from “Not invented here” syndrome.

Other companies that were formerly great, but are imploding? Intel.
Who else will implode? Google and Facebook. Neither respect your privacy. Both are greedy and purely motivated by profit. There are genocides that could have stopped if they put on the brakes, but “polarization drives engagement, engagement = profit!”

Edit: 20 years later, unchanged, and still the best. Jay Leno’s Garage - NextEngine’s 3D Scanner.


Not applicable to me. I just brought up a question and appreciate all answers.

I even hoped for an answer of @waytools because they are so silent and we are all so curious about an update.

I know we all want to hear from @waytools. I do not speak for them, but I get the sense of…

When I say the world punishes innovators, that includes the behaviour I see in the forums here.

In essence, internet forums are a toxic wasteland. Very few are not toxic wastelands. Even StackOverflow, the best I can think of, marginally floats above the waterline. They can only do this because they have a huge machine: volunteers who they game-ify to do all their moderation. Their staff are on record for making the dumbest, stupidest moderation decisions. It’s a job so hard, you can’t pay anyone to do it well. It takes blood, sweat, tears, and a part of your soul.

Me? I personally would rather they stay the F away from the forums. It’s like the political discourse in some nations. People don’t even talk about the right things here.

I’ll give you an example of how thankless it is to be an innovator: Pokit - makes an affordable and really great oscilloscope that does so much more. Powered by a coin cell. Unbelievable.

They kickstart a Pokit PRO, and you wouldn’t believe the crap that gets spewed on their forums. They decide to do weekly updates. Exactly 7 people “thank” them for it. Here’s their latest update:


The 1 thank they got? That was me.

I repeat: the world does not thank its innovators. Internet forums are a toxic wasteland. Complete waste of time for an engineer.

Edit: examples of BS I see in Pokit forums. Sound familiar?

I don’t know about you, but as a human being, reading that kind of crap, eats at one’s soul. If I were a Waytools engineer, I’m supposed to read that crap, and then… write firmware? Do things that require more concentration than even Apple can muster?

The engineers are human beings too. Not superhumans.

What is amazing, is that all this is made by people, today. Not time-travellers, not aliens. People.

«Жизнь показывает, что и космос будут осваивать не какие-нибудь супермены, а самые простые люди» - Юрий Алексеевич Гагарин
“Life shows that space will be explored not by some supermen, but by the most ordinary people” - Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin (if I am not disrespecting him by using his full name)

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I agree, you should stay away from this forum. :wink:

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I like that quote. It is very descriptive of the times we live in, no matter when that is, but especially now.

Ordinary people just don’t understand innovation. Heck, they don’t even understand basic science having to do with Covid19 and it’s been around for over a year. Noses hanging out of masks, people pulling them down when they talk so “they can be heard”, deniers, anti-vaxxers, politicians who don’t get basic public health, etc, etc, etc.

And most people are ordinary, likely including many on this forum.

This is not a defense of @waytools specifically, but a defense of innovators in general. One of the silver linings of Covid has been the ability to reduce interactions with those who don’t understand innovation or understand the future to which we are headed. This…has been a breath of fresh air.

But change is inevitable. It is inevitable that Intel will fall, Google and Facebook too, likely along with Apple some day. This is innate to change, the inability of the downstream corporate generations to adapt properly. Like the 3rd generation or 4th generation family business where the great grandkids watch over the destruction of the family business helplessly. Apple got a second life 2 decades ago. Microsoft got another one recently, but they are not destined for the decentralized world we are headed.

I always root for the innovator. For Elon Musk, for those who push blockchain technologies forward, and hopefully companies like Waytools. Some will fail…but you know who will definitely fail? The slow monolith market giants. Watching old institutions wither away is like watching paint dry, but they continue their slow demise; the old banking institutions who don’t change, Intel, GE, gold bugs, etc, etc, etc.

Never bet against the innovator. And definitely don’t align yourself with the ordinary.


Innovators started out as ordinary people too. They have the same emotions as everyone else, but they take their aspirations and do so much more, making them extraordinary.

Innovators (or craftspersons, artists, writers, etc.) know how hard it is to get anything “right”, and those that survived the process, had to be kind to themselves to pick themselves up after every setback. The process of creation is tortuous and torturous.

Knowing how hard it is to innovate, and knowing how fragile the process can be, they develop quite the empathy for others, especially those undergoing the innovation process. They recognize innovators of all stripes as kindred spirits. This is the context of when WayTools mentions other innovators.

We ought to support innovators. Not troll their forums, write false narratives about how their ideas will end up in flames, or use abusive language. But hey, we live in the world where parents did such a bad job that nobody has manners anymore. 100 years ago, you had to be absolutely amazing to be noticed. Today, simply having “common courtesy” or “being polite” puts you in the 1 percentile. Is this a sad state of affairs?

Frustration has many, many cures. I propose this one: innovate in one aspect of our lives. You will spend so much time and energy on it (and get so many good results), and you will realize how valuable that energy is, because of what impact it can have. And consequently you will conserve that energy and not let it go to waste.

Yes, I am guilty of spouting vitriol against Apple. I sure wish they would make an iPad that runs Mac OS X, and I know it is entirely possible, but I forgot to consider any of their engineers who read these forums - and their feelings. For that I am sorry. But your managers are making bad choices. Sorry to also state the obvious. But I will now choose not to get angry at Apple.

Instead, I will learn about other processors. Support open-hardware initiatives like EOMA68 and RISC-V. I am constrained by what is available on the market for any necessary technology purchases, but will do what I can. If Apple changes course and does make an M-series iPad running Mac OS X (macOS for Apple engineers), then I will gladly buy one.

I will take my energy and put it toward innovative things. And my dollars go to innovative companies.

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Never more true…even today.

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