I think it’s a placeholder patent just in case more people “settle” for the diminished experience of typing on glass. I mean we picked streaming video over Blu-ray (convenience over quality). I secretly hope that we are creative species, and not a bunch of passive binge watchers, so that non-glass keyboards remain a necessity for humankind.
Or it could be a “justify my promotion by patent count”.
Or a defensive patent in a system where “do X on a computer” is a recipe that feeds patent trolls billions annually.
We will never have a great experience typing on glass. Human fingers drift! 10 years of autocorrect hasn’t solved it except for trivial cases. Creatives that work with text need keyboards. We will solve general AI before we solve typing on glass (because the AI will predict the human, not the typing; the finger movement is just to give old farts like me a comforting illusion that I am contributing). And then we will have arthritis and RSI from repeat smashing of appendages onto immovable surfaces.
It’s telling Apple doesn’t see the glass path working either. You see it in their products. With Taptic Engine, Force Touch, Magic Trackpad, but the iPhone 7 (Taptic, Force Touch) doesn’t have a great glass keyboard experience, and neither does iPad Pro: it is advertised with Pencil and the not Smart Keyboard.
I call it the not Smart Keyboard because it goes counter to their fine tradition of making the smartest portable keyboards. The PowerBook G3 (Bronze Keyboard) was a game changer with its scissor action keys.
Their trackpads have always been the best: the MacBook Retina furthered the trackpad heritage but regressed on the keyboard.
You can’t break the laws of physics. iPhone 6 onward has a camera bump because a camera can get so thin but no thinner without seriously compromising image quality.
Attempting to break the laws of physics resulted instead with “broken by design” keyboards on the MacBook 12”. Failure to course correct resulted in the not Smart Keyboard. Is it the first hideous Apple product since the beige painted metal box? It aesthetics are as broken as it’s functionality! From the side it looks warped and folds funny with a squishy gap and all.
Butterfly actuators are not the problem - TextBlade uses them to great effect. The problem is excessive thinning of the MacBook, leaving no room for a keyboard with usable travel. The result is noticeably poorer key feel.
Maybe I’m excessively harsh with the new Apple keyboards. But before I doubt myself, it’s also not serviceable! A crumb kills it. If spraying it with compressed air in a Z pattern doesn’t clear it, it’s a trip to the store where the “repair” is actually a “replace the entire top case”. What if you couldn’t afford AppleCare at purchase and the keyboard fails after the 1 year warranty? I think they deserve some heat for that design.
They partnered with IBM for enterprise solutions. Why not partner with WayTools for keyboards?