Apple patent points to MacBook keys that change dynamically

For its next trick, Apple might be working on keyboards for its MacBooks that change the appearance and functionality of their keys dynamically, depending on context – so the A key could instantly transform into a 9 key, for example.

This comes from a patent spotted by Patently Apple (opens in new tab) (via 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)), outlining a keyboard which would have a flexible backlighting system that could display any symbol on any key. Specifically, keys with “illuminable glyphs that are selectively visible or invisible to an unaided human eye”.

At the moment of course, Apple uses keyboards with static, pre-printed labels that can’t be changed. Some keys that do have more than one use, such as the media playback keys, have multiple labels on them so it’s clear what they do.

How a MacBook key might look

How the keys might be designed (Image credit: Patently Apple)

Changeable glyphs