Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,551,876) that hints at, among other things, a Magic Keyboard with Touch Bar for desktop Macs.
The patent is dubbed “systems, devices, and methods for changing between different display modes for a touch-sensitive secondary display using a keyboard key.” It involves touch-sensitive secondary display devices and, more specifically, changing display modes for a touch-sensitive secondary display using a keyboard key.
The Touch Bar on certain Mac laptops adds a row of multitouch controls to the top of the keyboard. It also includes a Touch ID sensor on its right side, integrated into the Power button, which adds quick account switching and Apple Pay authorization to your Mac. Not everyone is a fan; however, I am.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that integrating touch-sensitive secondary displays into computing systems has resulted in new ways for users to interact with these systems. Still, Apple says there’s a need for customization features that allow users to easily switch between different display modes for the secondary display and that also allows users to associate display modes for the secondary display with different applications. Some folks
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A method is performed at a computing system, the computing system including: a first housing that includes a primary display, and a second housing containing (i) a physical keyboard and (ii) a touch-sensitive secondary display (TSSD). The method includes displaying, on the primary display, a first user interface. While the TSSD is operating in an adaptive display mode, the method includes: displaying, on a respective portion of the TSSD, application-specific user interface elements that are selected based on current state of the first user interface for the application.
“The method further includes, in response to detecting a press of a key via the physical keyboard: displaying, on the primary display, representations of available display modes for the TSSD. The method additionally includes, receiving a selection of a representation of another display mode of the available display modes; and operating the TSSD in the other display mode.”