Macbook WheelNew Macbook Wheel
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Patents show that Apple could work on the MacBook without a keypad.
Back in 2009, the Onion website posted an article about a novelty in the MacBook line - a MacBook without a keypad. Onion bantered that the notebook, named the MacBook Wheel, would have a huge click wheel instead of keys. "Our Apple philosphy is to develop easy-to-use solutions and nothing is easier than a huge button," said a counterfeit production executive.
MacBook Wheel may have been a bag at the technology firm, but seven years later a patented product emerged that shows that Apple is actually thinking about how to make a notebook without a keypad. Configuration of a power responsive entry system architecture for an electronics apparatus. There would be a lamp that shines through a hole in the case, and this mix of hole and lamp could be the main borders and icons.
In addition, the reconfigurability capability could go beyond that, as the patents state: "The entry pattern is designed to accommodate a group of exchangeable entry device (s) within the at least one entry area defined on at least the section of the entry area". Maybe it could be a keypad or a game pad, or whatever, depending on your needs.
Apple's patented reason is that with a conventional keypad and tracking pad, there are many parts, plus the keys that need to stick out of the case. Key caps, built-in tie breakers, key cap openings - all these make the unit vulnerable to failure.
In addition, any of these parts can crack, making the unit susceptible. "Combined with some sub-assemblies located on the outside of the enclosure where a series of sub-assemblies are used to make each of the traditional entry fixtures, the whole entry fixture can become unoperable if a particular sub-assembly is broken, missing or becomes unoperable," it says.