Apple to Introduce E Ink Keyboards With 2018 MacBooks

Following The Guardian’s report, based on a verified post on Reddit alleging that Apple recently met with representatives from Australian startup Sonder Design to discuss using its dynamic keyboard technology in a future Magic Keyboard, The Wall Street Journal has corroborated that such talks took place on October 11 in China.

However, Sonder CEO Francisco Serra-Martin denied in a press release that the meeting took place. Be that as it may, WSJ claims that the new dynamic keyboards will be a standard feature on next-generation MacBook laptops, which Apple is aiming to launch in 2018.

“Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, discussed the MacBook plans with the heads of Foxconn and Sonder on Oct. 11 in China,” reports The Wall Street Journal. This follows an earlier report from The Guardian which claimed Apple is in talks to acquire Sonder.

You can already buy keyboards that use E Ink displays to alter the characters on each key, but they’re expensive, which makes them uncommon. The Optimus Popularis keyboard by Art. Lebedev Studio, a Russian design studio, sells for more than $1,000.

Apple’s keyboard will reportedly be a standard feature in future MacBooks, starting with those that are set to arrive in 2018. It will be ideal for those who type in more than one language, frequently use special characters, and like to use emoji.

The keyboard will also be useful for displaying specialized commands for certain software. For instance, the keys could display functions in an app like Photoshop or Garageband, as well as actions inside a game.

At any rate, it doesn’t really look like the next MacBook Pro will have a full-on e-ink keyboard because the Journal clearly states that Mac notebooks with dynamic keyboards shouldn’t be expected before 2018.

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