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11 Oct, 2023
1 min time to read

Apple has been granted a patent for a unique MacBook keyboard design that features a removable key that doubles as a precision mouse.

The patent, titled "Deployable Key Mouse," outlines a traditional scissor-system MacBook keyboard with a concealed removable key that serves as a pointing device, equipped with a position sensor. This innovation aims to provide a comfortable, portable, and precise alternative to traditional trackpads.

The patent acknowledges that tasks requiring precise control, such as graphic design, computer-assisted design, and editing complex documents, often benefit from a handheld mouse rather than a trackpad. Apple's solution is the removable key, which can seamlessly switch between keyboard and mouse modes. Additionally, the key could have an internal battery for standalone use.

Apple explores various mechanical systems to facilitate the deployment of the removable key, including vertical and horizontal sliding mechanisms. The illustrations in the patent depict the deployable key located toward the keyboard's edge, making it a convenient option for users seeking occasional precise input without the need for an external mouse.

While patent filings don't guarantee immediate product development, they offer insights into Apple's areas of interest and potential future innovations.