Apple today was granted a patent that relates to redesigns of the Apple Watch and MacBook wherein their current metal casing would be replaced with one mainly made of glass or ceramic that uses microperforations to sense input.
Apple’s latest laptop patent is the closest we’ll get to a touchscreen MacBook
On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to Apple covering a “concealable input region for an electronic device.” U.S. Patent No. 11,237,655, describes technology that uses microperforations to sense input.
Although some parts of the patent’s text describe an Apple Watch, there are figures in the documents that show the microperforation technology applying to the iPhone, Apple Pencil, and MacBook devices.
According to the application, the tech giant is working on making an enclosure for a MacBook out of premium materials, like ceramic, though glass and plastic can also be used. Though the use of ceramic would be new to Apple’s Mac lineup, the tech giant has previously the material on an Apple Watch. Embedded within the casing and around the glass screen of the machine would be touch buttons. When in an active state, these micro-perforations can display virtual keys, buttons, or notification graphics to illuminate an input region. In the illustration, Apple showed an email button that can be launched by pressing the top right bezel of the laptop.
These buttons would function in a similar way to Apple’s controversial Touch Bar, a feature it ultimately removed from its 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models powered by the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.
If Apple is going to release a MacBook Pro with an embedded bezel around the display housing with touch-sensitive buttons, it would be one of the closest things users will get to a touchscreen laptop from the tech giant. It is possible this technology could be used in conjunction with other Apple-patented technology such as a previous filing for all-glass iPhone, iPad, and Mac models. The patent describes a six-sided glass enclosure for the smart devices including glass front, back, (right and left) curved edges, and (top and bottom) borders.
As with other patents Apple files, it is important to note that the company files many applications on a weekly basis, so we do not know for sure if this technology will be implemented in a future Apple device.
via Patently Apple