• Working in front of a computer for longer periods of time can result in some problems, such as wrist pain
  • A new patent shows Apple is working on improving the MacBook's ergonomic features 
  • The patent reveals plans to equip future MacBooks with a special hinge that adjusts the keyboard height and angle

Apple is looking at ways to improve the MacBook and make it safer and more comfortable to use for long periods of time, a new patent reveals.

Tech companies have been introducing products that feature improved ergonomics over the years. Microsoft, for example, offers the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 – a keyboard designed to let users type for hours with less risk of wrist pain. Logitech, a popular peripherals maker, has an ergonomically designed accessory in the aptly-named MX Vertical mouse.

A new patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows that Apple is also working on products that will help users type comfortably for longer periods of time.

Instead of creating a new Magic Keyboard or Magic Mouse accessory, however, the Cupertino tech giant is looking at equipping future MacBooks with a special hinge that adjusts the keyboard height when the lid is opened.

According to the patent inventors, Apple could put a special hinge on the MacBook so that the rear part of the device will be raised, giving the keyboard a steeper writing angle for comfortable typing.

Apple MacBook raised
One of the patent's proposed designs. Apple/USPTO

Instead of using a kickstand underneath the MacBook, however, the inventors propose a more complicated method wherein only the top layer comprised of the keyboard and the areas around it will be raised, while the bottom part of the device remains rested on the surface it is placed on.

The inventors also note two significant embodiments of their invention.

First, there's an embodiment wherein both the keyboard and trackpad, along with the palm rests, will be raised. Second, there's an embodiment where only the keyboard is raised: the trackpad and palm rests remain flat.

Apple MacBook raised 2
Another design illustrated in the patent. Apple/USPTO

Aside from promoting “greater user ergonomics,” the inventors also noted that the special hinge assembly will also allow for several other things.

First, it promotes cooling by exposing cooling vents while the keyboard is raised. The hinge assembly, which collapses unto itself when the device is closed, will also allow Apple to create a more ergonomic MacBook without increasing its size.

Filed on May 28, 2019, the patent lists its inventors as Edward J. Cooper, Ari P. Miller, Kevin M. Robinson and Ian A. Guy.