Backlit keyboards are a dime a dozen these days. But beyond helping you see and looking pretty, they don’t serve any other functional purpose. Apple may be looking to change that, based on a patent the company filed.
The patent describes giving keys on keyboards individually controllable variable internal illumination. This is to supposedly improve user experience and increase potential for feedback to a user.
Part of the patent reads “variable internal illumination of keys may provide improved user experience and information output”. That said, the patent doesn’t mention what sort of feedback this could provide, nor what kind of improved user experience this tech will bring.
What is mentioned, on the other hand, is that the intensity of the backlighting can be adjusted according to ambient lighting.
It all sounds a bit like what the Razer Chroma does. When you’re using a keyboard that supports Chroma, and are playing a game that supports it, the lighting effects on the keyboard change depending on what’s happening in game. That said, it’s not exactly any useful feedback, since you’ll be looking at the screen instead of the keyboard.
It remains to be seen what Apple intends to do with this patent. And as is the case with patents, it’s entirely likely nothing will come of it.