No keyboard. The critics scoffed and laughed. Steve Jobs knew better. Look around at today’s crop of smartphones. How many good ones have a keyboard. The proper answer? None. The click and clack of hardware keyboards will be a thing of the past as soon as Apple decides it’s time, but the handwriting is on the wall.
Today’s Mac keyboards are the thinnest ever, and whatever you think of the new butterfly design, or the minimal tactile response in iPad Pro’s Smart Keyboard, one thing is certain. They hard of hardware keyboards is on life support. Say goodbye to the Mac hardware keyboard.
Based on what I see in the industry’s trend toward thinner keyboards, I’m convinced the current crop is designed to step Mac and PC users into the future of keyboards. Sans hardware. Well, actually, hardware won’t ever go away until we have some kind of mind control capability, but think of the Mac keyboards now. They click and they clack with various sounds, but each key is a key that makes some kind of sound.
That’s the hardware that will go away. Goodbye, Mac hardware keyboard. We hardly knew ye.
What will replace the hardware keyboard. More hardware. Or, rather, an iPhone and iPad-like keyboard on a screen. A single sheet of glass with an on-screen keyboard that can be configured by software for any language and any setup.
What about the feel that keyboards give off today? After all, there are many of use who use keyboards that need that feel to type. Remember, smartphone customers, critics, and manufacturers thought the same thing about their hardware keyboards and look how that ended.
Note what Apple does with the iPhone haptic-taptic technology which makes it feel as if we’re pressing a button when all we’re pressing is a spot on the screen’s glass. Those little vibrations tell us we’ve pressed something that seems to click when nothing actually clicked.
Alright, think of similar technology plugged into an even thinner lighter screen where the Mac’s keyboard sits today. Turn on the Mac and a pre-configured screen-only keyboard lights up on the second screen. It will look like any keyboard you want it to look like. Even keys will adjust in size and visual depth. And, it’s likely the technology will allow a click-clack for those who need that aural sound to match the haptic-taptic feedback from the screen. For most of us, those first versions will feel much like the current crop of ultra thin keyboards already on the market.
Yeah, I know. Many Mac and PC users would only let go of their keyboards when they’re being lowered into the grave. Yet, look how much smartphones changed after the iPhone was introduced. That haptic-taptic technology could very well give users any keyboard they want– from thin and light to click and clack. All adjustable from software.
Goodbye, Mac hardware keyboard.