Ideas for Apple’s (Possible) E-ink Keyboard

Inspired by this news: http://thenextweb.com/apple/2016/10/13/apple-in-talks-with-australian-company-to-bring-dynamic-keyboard-tech-to-macbooks/

  • Show option/Shift-option keys when those are pressed, Control shortcuts, etc. Along that same line of thinking, accented keys would trigger those layouts, so you would see which keys can have accent marks added.
  • Dark/light mode.
  • Shortcuts specific to programs. Adobe Creative programs come to mind. Microsoft Office, as well. I also see it being useful for some terminal programs. Example: I imagine typing in vim and having the keyboard looking different if I’m not in “insert mode.”
  • Gaming keys. (Example: highlighting WASD.)
  • Different language layouts actually show on the keyboard for bilingual typists.
  • Change fonts to match what you’re currently typing. (On second thought, please don’t.)
  • Regularly swap numbers for programming keys. (Example: programmer’s Dvorak)
  • Certain function keys (screen lighting, volume/mute) would show what it is currently set to, or if that function is active.
  • Closer to mobile experience when filling out forms: typing in an email address field could make it easier to type an email address by providing shortcuts for at-gmail, as Android already does. Phone field could show a number pad for keyboards that only otherwise have a number row.

I feel like there are a lot of subtle experience effects here that could be painful to lose after using this type of keyboard for a while. It’s more interesting to consider those effects, as opposed to the bigger customization features that I think users just ultimately won’t care about as much.

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