KEY POINTS

  • Apple's Touch Bar has helped MacBook Pro users do a lot of things faster
  • A new patent reveals that Apple is looking to add a new Touch Bar-like feature to future models
  • The new Touch Bar-like feature will be placed on the trackpad or spacebar

Apple has equipped some MacBook Pro models with the Touch Bar – a touch-enabled portion at the top of the keyboard that allows users to do a lot of things with their device. The Touch bar adapts to a variety of situations or apps, allowing users to do things with one tap what they would normally do with more presses and clicks.

Now, a new patent reveals that Apple is looking into the possibility of adding Touch Bar-like displays to other areas of the MacBook Pro, particularly the part where users' hands are normally found. The patent, spotted by Apple Insider, describes a MacBook Pro model with “auxiliary” displays on the spacebar on the keyboard or on the trackpad.

The patent, titled “Auxiliary text display integrated into a keyboard device,” describes Apple devices that feature extra screens that will be used to display text. The screens can be used to display AutoCorrect options as well as AutoComplete-like text, among others.

The inventors behind the patent indicate that the technology is meant to help people type things using their MacBook Pro device easier. Apple Insider noted, however, that the rationale seems to “assume that touch-typing is a thing of the past.”

The patent simply assumes that when users type on a keyboard in a typical computer system, they will find it difficult to maintain their focus on both the keys they are pressing on the keyboard, and the characters that are being displayed on the computer screen as they type.

The process of typing forces users to look at their fingers as they press the keys on the keyboard, then look at the comupter screen to see if what they are typing is correct. Users “may be forced to repeatedly shift his or her field of view between the keyboard and the main display or monitor,” the patent said.

Auxiliary screens designed to display certain text or characters on the keyboard itself might help users achieve improved typing efficiency, the patent claimed

Those who might find the technology interesting should know that it's still a patent at the moment, which means a release date is nowhere to be found just yet.

MacBook Pro The Touch Bar does wonders when used with the Option key. Photo: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach