According to a new patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is designing a detachable key that will be included in the accessories for future MacBooks which could be used as a precision mouse for rapid display navigation.
Named as Deployable Key Mouse, the revised design retains the MacBook's regular scissor system keyboard but adds a secret key. A position sensor embedded in the key will act as a pointing device, providing a convenient, portable, and precise pointer input for the PC, reported GizmoChina.
The new technological advancement will benefit precision activities such as graphic design, computer-assisted design, and modelling, as well as document editing. These tasks are best accomplished using a hand-held mouse rather than a touchpad. However, the patent-pending Deployable Key Mouse will fulfil the mouse's function without adding apparent luggage to the MacBook.
According to the patent paperwork, the new key will be battery-powered and will be buried at the keyboard's edge. There are no other indicators as to whether the key is capable of performing additional functions, however, the patent filing does not imply that the device will become a reality.
The report says that it could simply be an indication of future intentions that are amended or discarded entirely before going into production. Clearly, regardless of the case, the concept of a deployable key for future MacBooks will appeal to a subset of Apple customers, particularly professionals who value precision in their work.