Extravagant ideas aren’t very common in a conservative company like Apple, but now they are Patented strange the mousewhich would be removable from MacBook.
The patent indicates that this key can be used as a very small mouse that may be no larger than the Shift key.
The mini mouse can be stored inside the keyboard case or placed next to other keys. In the latter case, it will work like any other key, Apple points out. However, when you remove it, it will function just like a mouse, which means it must have a battery and be able to detect its position so you can use it to move the cursor around the screen.
That’s a lot to store inside such a small key. Apple suggests that you can group multiple keys together and use them as a mouse, but even then, it’s not clear how long the battery will last when the device must be so small. This, combined with the likely uncomfortable size and shape, means it’s probably not a mouse you can use for long periods of time. This makes us wonder: What’s the point?
According to the patent, Apple believes that carrying a mouse in addition to a laptop can be cumbersome and take up a lot of space. Furthermore, the MacBook’s built-in trackpad may not be as accurate as a mouse for certain tasks. This seems to have prompted Apple to look for an alternative.
This all sounds very reasonable, except we’re talking about a key that can be up to an inch long at best. This isn’t the kind of shape you find in an ergonomic or remotely ergonomic mouse.
If the idea is to completely replace your mouse, a small mouse with a short battery life doesn’t seem like an ideal candidate. It also raises the question of what happens if you lose the removable key: in this case, you might end up losing the key and the mouse at the same time.
Since this is a patent, it’s entirely possible that Apple is just exploring ideas. Given all the drawbacks of this idea, it’s hard to imagine that Apple will implement it on the MacBook.
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