Apple plans to use the capacitive touchscreen to connect external keyboards, to avoid the use of Bluetooth or the Smart Connector.
The iPad and iPad Pro are considered by many to be an excellent alternative to a laptop, thanks in particular to the possibility of connecting an external keyboard via Bluetooth or the Smart Connector. In a new patent, Apple opens up the possibility of connecting these keyboards directly to the iPad screen.
Apple’s solution is to create an accessory that comes into contact with the screen as part of its connection mechanism to the iPad. The patent refers to a sliding clip that brings the edge of the iPad screen closer to the contacts that gently touch the screen.
The contacts are all spaced along the edge of the screen, with each pair of contacts connecting a switch inside the keyboard beneath each key. When the button is pressed, the switch is activated allowing connection, the capacitive load being detected by the device itself.
Since there is a pair of contacts for each key, arranged in a grid along the edge of the iPad screen, the tablet can easily determine which key was typed by analyzing the position on the edge of the notch where contacts are detected. In theory, a multitouch screen would also be able to detect multiple simultaneous presses, such as pressing the Shift key with a letter or number.
This new design offers certain advantages compared to existing systems, such as the possibility for the accessory to operate without absorbing energy, since it only modifies the zones of a capacitive screen using a simple switch and contacts. The device's mechanics also allow you to use it on virtually any tablet or smartphone using capacitive screens, without requiring additional configurations.
It remains to be seen whether this patent will actually be implemented in a future Apple keyboard for iPad.