Future generations of Apple MacBooks could come with dynamic e-ink keyboards, if new rumours are to be believed.
According to sources including The Wall Street Journal, electronics giant Apple has taken a big shine to Sonder Design, an Australian startup company that has been making waves recently with its forthcoming line of keyboards that feature transparent keys, where various letters, numbers and symbols can be changed at will depending on the application or language in use. The product is due to go on sale later this year for US$199 and has been backed by none other than Foxconn, the same Taiwanese electronics manufacturer that produces hardware for Apple.
Here’s a quick peek at the clever new e-ink technology in a promotional video from Sonder:
UK newspaper The Guardian also reported last week that Apple’s Tim Cook had met with Sonder’s CEO to talk about buying the company out, although Sonder has since denied this.
Whether or not the rumours turn out to be true, there’s no denying that this technology has enormous potential, not just from a manufacturing perspective but for the end-user. With e-ink keys, companies like Apple would be able to produce just one type of keyboard for multiple territories, leaving the accompanying software to dictate the apparance of the keys. Everyone from gamers to graphic designers would be have their own bespoke layout without having to shell out for a dedicated keyboard. For anyone who, for instance, uses a MacBook with a US-English keyboard at home and a British-English keyboard at work, and subsequently has to keep reminding themselves of the location of various keys, a laptop sporting one of these nifty little keyboards would put an end to those first-world woes quite nicely.