Apple could use E-ink in its future keyboardsBy Rob Thubron 17 comments
Apple is rumored to be holding a press event before the end of this month where it will show off its new line of MacBook Pros. The refreshed laptops will reportedly feature an OLED touch display above the keyboard that changes depending on which application the user has open. Now, it's been revealed that a similar system could be implemented into an entire Apple keyboard.
Reddit user Foxconninsider, who works at Tsinghua University ("like the Chinese MIT"), said such a keyboard was on show at a recent closed-doors event on campus, hosted by Apple supplier Foxconn.
Australian startup Sonder was present at the event, showing off a prototype next generation Apple Magic Keyboard that features an E-Ink display on every key. These can change depending on a user's needs, bringing up different languages, images, and shortcuts. The device could also have many applications when if comes to gaming, especially with titles that use a lot of keys, such as Elite: Dangerous.
Sonder revealed its backlit, e-display keyboard last year. The company confirmed to Trusted Reviews that it is closing procurement contracts with three third-party laptop companies "to integrate our technology into their products." The Redditor claims a Foxconn executive said Apple's Procurement Board "was closing an acquisition" for Sonder.
Foxconninsider said he also saw the MacBook Pro's OLED panel at the show, described as the "new Macbook keyboard module."
Reddit mods have verified Foxconninsider's identity, but the keyboard is an early prototype designed for testing, so it's not guaranteed to appear in any future Apple laptops or as a standalone product.
An Apple spokesperson said: "Sonder has been in discussions with Apple's procurement board regarding Sonder's laptop module. Foxconn International Holdings and E Ink Holdings - both strategic partners of Sonder Design Pty. Ltd. are assisting with the above discussions."