Over the last few years, there have been several Apple patents that envision a MacBook with a virtual display-based keyboard. A Turkish designer named Furkan Kasap decided to take that concept and run with it.
The designer has recently created a set of concept images (via TNW) that imagine what a MacBook Pro with a display that occupies the entire keyboard area could look like.
The first thing you might notice is that the keyboard itself lacks physical keys. Instead, the images appear to show off a virtual keyboard akin to those seen on smartphones and tablets. (And, for the record, it seems that the function keys have made a triumphant return to said keyboard.)
The trackpad would be similarly display-based and relegated to the right side of the MacBook Pro interface. The concept mages seem to suggest that the trackpad could “disappear” and be replaced with additional keys depending on usage or needs.
The MacBook Pro Touch Bar is also here, though it appears to have been super-sized. There’s a ton of extra real estate that allows for a more seamless app switcher and a larger customizable button set.
As far as the physical design of Kasap’s concept MacBook Pro, there are larger speakers running down both sides of the keyboard. While perhaps an unlikely design, it could mean that the concept Mac notebook would sport acceptable speakers — something that really hasn’t been achieved in most modern notebooks.
If there were any criticism to be lobbed at the concept, one is the size of the display’s bezels. Based on Apple’s current design philosophy, they appear entirely too large. But, of course, this is just a concept image.
While Kasap’s concept does a good job of imagining what a display-based keyboard could look like, there’s the issue of whether Apple is likely to take this route.
A design like this would obviously go a long way to increase the customization and versatility of a MacBook Pro keyboard. As another bonus, it would completely do away with the current issues of physical butterfly-style keys in current models.
Of course, tactile response and key “feel” are both going to suffer. While we’ve adapted well to virtual keyboards on smartphones and tablets, whether or not computer users could stand to lose that tactile feel is up for debate.