In 2016, Lenovo released a laptop that ditched the physical keyboard for a digital sketchpad, which could be used to draw and type. It was a futuristic premise that felt like a genuine innovation. But it was executed poorly, and ultimately disappeared into obscurity.
Now, it looks like Apple wants to explore a similar idea, as a recently discovered patent details a device that features a full OLED display keyboard, expanding upon Apple’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
The patent succinctly describes the potential product as a “dual display equipment with enhanced visibility and suppressed reflections.”
Electronic equipment with dual displays may be provided. A first display may be mounted in a first housing and a second display may be mounted in a second housing that is adjacent to the first housing. The first housing may rotate relative to the second housing about a hinge axis. The first housing may be a lid and the second housing may be a base housing that is coupled to the lid by a hinge or the first and second housings may be associated respectively with a device and an accessory that is coupled to the device. A first display may be mounted in the first housing and a second display may be mounted in the second housing.
The patent goes on to describe how Apple would minimize the reflection from one display onto the other, utilizing polarizers and other optical layers, such as wave plates.
Just because Apple has filed a patent doesn’t mean the company will turn it into a product. But if any company was going to popularize the use of an OLED display keyboard, it would be Apple.