back to article Apple files patent for 'polished meteorite' keyboard

Apple has filed a patent application for a key-travel design that it claims will allow for a "thin profile, aesthetically pleasing keyboard." Keyboard aesthetics, the filing claims, is of great importance because "outward appearance contributes to the overall impression that the user has of the computing device." Quite …

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  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    And this is so earth shatteringly unique it requires a patent?

    Actually, I hope this does NOT come to a keyboard near me soon. This long lever action is just asking for a pile up of dust and muck

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BEEN DONE BEFORE

      that's why the ZX81 was discontinued.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BEEN DONE BEFORE

        Exactly what i was thinking when I started reading it. Though had Clive SInclair gone for metorite instead of dead-flesh, maybe things would of been no different as they are now. Old IBM keyboards that could break bones if dropped on them were the best, although noisy they were just lovely.

        Next Apple will patent a keyboard layout that is more effecient than the current QWERTY one :0.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Dead flesh keyboard ?

          The ZX-81 had a zombieskin keyboard ? Damn ! Why didn't I know that before ? I would have bought one just for the unique ability to blast pixels with an already-undead interface.

          Ah, yet another missed opportunity in my life.

          1. Toastan Buttar
            Coffee/keyboard

            Polished Meteorite? Pah!

            Everyone (including Apple) is thinking too small. The key caps on my cheap generic USB keyboard are made from material that came from the core of an exploding star.

  2. Marty
    Pirate

    prior art?

    It sounds very similar to me the same as how an old fashioned manual typewriter keyboard works....

    1. . 3
      Devil

      Re: prior art?

      I have an actual computer keyboard in front of me right now which works exactly the way described. It's in the front panel of a piece of equipment made in the 1970s and is obviously not meant to be typed on, more for pushing buttons to command the machine to do things. The key hinges are half an inch above the bit you press, but you do get a nice click action.

      The icing on the cake is that the key caps are actually little transparent perspex windows which you can pop off with a suitable tool (watchmakers screwdriver) to customize the key legends, i.e with printed paper, slivers of wood, metal, meteorite, etc.

      I wouldn't for an instant want to bet on Apple not getting awarded their patent though. (Twats.)

      1. Tasogare

        Re: Re: prior art?

        Watch them patent "being aesthetically pleasing" next...

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Re: Re: prior art?

          As rounded corners serve no purpose bar aesthetics, in effect they already have.....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Re: Re: Re: prior art?

            @TeeCee

            "As rounded corners serve no purpose bar aesthetics"

            Rounded corners are part of engineering 101! The purpose they serve is to distribute stress and avoid concentrating it at a point. A sharp edge tends towards infinite stress under load, which is why they chip off so easily. My 'O' level technical drawing class covered this in 1984, and all exterior edges were to be drawn with a "radius" (i.e. rounded off).

            1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: prior art?

              This is also why airplane windows are small and have rounded edges. As de Havilland discovered the hard way.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: prior art?

      My exact thought.

      My granddad's typewriter which he "appropriated" from the retreating German army in 1944 works along the same principles.

      Going to some newer examples I can recall several models of IBM electromechanical typewriters which retained the lever design to ensure that the typists got the same tactile feedback as a "real" typewriter. Some of these could be connected via an RS232 interface to a computer as a keyboard as well.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: prior art?

      Not only is it similar to old fashioned, mechanical typewriters, but the original reason why QWERTY keyboards have their keys offset is precisely so "the levers won't get in each others' way".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior art.

    That looks pretty much identical to how the keys on a synth are constructed to me. Hinged at the back end, long lever, pressing down on a contact toward the front; all the main points match.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prior art.

      Sure is - that's how the manuals in the church organ I play are constructed. Been like that since they were refurbished in 1968.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Prior art.

        How about a telegraph key?

        https://www.sciencephoto.com/image/363550/530wm/V4000068-Morse_s_telegraph_transmitter-SPL.jpg

        1. MattWPBS
          Boffin

          Re: Re: Re: Prior art.

          Exactly what sprung to my mind when I saw the diagram - that's a telegraph key.

    2. It wasnt me
      Meh

      Re: Prior art.

      Indeed. Its how the keys and pedals on a fucking organ work for gods sake. Prior art from he 1400's anyone ?

      Apple, divert your legal funds to R&D, please. (And everone else).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Prior art.

        Once Apple get a time machine we're all fu*ked!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using...

    Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using a keyboard because my fingers are in the way. I don't care how my keyboard LOOKS, I care how it WORKS. Can I reasonably touch-type? Heck, the Compaq keyboard I am using at work is so mushy compared to the Model M I have at home that it really does slow my typing down.

    This reminds me of the old Gallager joke about scented toilet paper: Why? who will this impress? My thumb?

    1. mr.K
      Boffin

      Re: Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using...

      The sad thing is that people buy their stuff primarily on how they look. This goes for everything, mobile phones, apartments, cars, clothes, food etc. In some cases the primary function of the stuff does not even factor in as a buy criteria.

      This is why there are colours on the box, which leads to a pet theory of mine:

      "The quality of a product is inverse proportional to the number of colours on the box it comes in."

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Re: Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using...

        Yes, people do make judgements on how things look- ultimately, life is too short to make controlled tests of everything we might think of buying, so we go with looks. Granted, these assumptions can by cynically used against us - what Pirsig called "All shit with a thin veneer of quality". However: If a product can be made with taste and restraint and good judgement on the outside, it is more likely that the same CAN be implemented on the inside. Likewise, if we see a member of the opposite sex who looks well put together on the outside, we are more likely to believe that their genetic machinery is in good working order throughout.

        There are reasons why we judge on appearances. As Oscar Wilde remarked: "Only shallow people refuse to judge on appearances". He was only being ironic because he cared.

        Indeed, Oscar also had a few things to say about Honesty of Materials. One can see that honesty in Dieter Rams' work, and that of Sir Jonny, be it honesty to injection moulded plastics or to extruded aluminium. 'Polished Meteorite' would not fall into this category, but it was being used as an EXAMPLE to illustrate how broad that facet of the concept could be.

        Compare that to the typical PC case-front of the late 90s: Superfluous plasti-chrome mouldings with arbitrary curves that do nothing but take up space and make the ports and drives more difficult to access than they should be, whilst wasting plastic and the time of a tool maker.

        If you don't think things should be beautiful, or be used as tools to make other things more beautiful, then we must agree to disagree.

        1. mr.K
          Happy

          Re: Re: Re: Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using...

          It is not really what I said. First of all, I didn't really comment on what things should be like, I commented on what people think they should be like. Second, I have no problem with, and have not said anything to suggest that, things being beautiful. In fact I prefer things to be beautiful. You see, beautiful things tend to be more pleasing to the eye. I have however come to terms with what I regard as beauty differs from the opinion of the majority, but I digress.

          What I do mean however, even though I didn't say it in my post, is that function should be more important than form when judging a product/tool. Or at the very least, equally important.

          I do think we disagree though. If drag in Oscar Wilde to justify buying products not because they serve our needs, but because the manufacturer made it "shiny", then I feel we disagree on a lot of things. I am perfectly alright with that (see smiley face).

          1. JaimieV

            Re: Re: Re: Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using...

            Form and function are not two separate things - they have to work together. Bad form makes excellent function impossible to use; bad function on good form takes us back to the "thin veneer on shit" quote.

            Suitably geeky folks can get around bad form, but geeky folks make up a tiny minority of the purchasing public.

            1. Phil W
              Thumb Down

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using...

              Incorrect Sir! function does not have to be impeded by lact of pleasing aesthetics.

              There are many examples of this, I'll just give you two examples an IT angle and non.

              I.T. angle: my usb memory stick on which the casing got smashed. I wrapped the pcb in string and insulation tape, it looks crap but still functions as well as before, if not better since it's new housing takes up less space so it fits better around other devices.

              non-IT angle: cleaning staff at work are particularly unattractive individuals, however my desk is shiny and clean in the morning and the floors freshly mopped.

              However both your point and my two counterpoints are completely invalidated by the much more important fact that the definition of "good form" is entirely subjective to the aesthetic preferences of the individual appreciating them.

            2. mr.K
              Happy

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Funny, but I can't see the keys when I am using...

              Sigh, I have not said you have to choose either or, in fact I have repeatedly said the exact opposite. However, it seems that the finer points of the English language eludes me once again. When I talk about function I also include ease of use etc. And when I talk about form as the opposite to function I talk about everything that does not have a "function". So the colour of an ambulance have a very important function, but the gray colour on a private car usually does not have a function and is thus part of the form.

              If this is incorrect usage of the terms in English I apologize. If you continue to hold it against me, sue me, I am Norwegian.*

              *That does make the apology sound bitter and sarcastic. Here have another smiley face.

              1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

                Form v Function

                I like things to work well. But a lot of what is considered functional design is just a styling trope. A better name for it would be "functionesque".

                Ask anybody who occupies a 1950s "machine for living in" (le Corbusier) with a flat roof how functional it is. Check out all the "functional" 1960s buildings that are now rightly being demolished because they're inefficient, uncomfortable and badly-made. Try spending any length of time sitting in a Barcelona chair (Perhaps I'm being unfair here - Mies van der Rohe was apparently horrified to learn that people wanted to sit in them. He designed them as chairs for looking at.) You see many examples in the kitchen, where homely implements that have evolved to do a job are stylishly redesigned so they don't work very well, like the Philippe Starck lemon squeezer.

        2. Nuke
          Flame

          @ Dave 126

          Dave 126 wrote :- "Yes, people do make judgements on how things look- ultimately, life is too short to make controlled tests of everything we might think of buying, so we go with looks"

          Yes, but the judgement is often made on features of the appearance that clearly can have nothing to do with performance - or go against it.

          My fave example is loo-roll holders. Once-upon-a-time they were held directly to the wall by two strong screws. You could put your weight on them (I gather my mother did). But even though the screws could be nice chrome-plated pozidriv's, very tasteful I thought, people started replacing them with ones having concealed screws, which people tell me "looks nicer".

          The concealed screw versions typically have a single tiny plate screwed to the wall onto which the outer visible part fixes with a little grub screw tightened from underneath. Half the time they wobble about (still looks nice?) and with any stress they come off the wall altogether (as my mother demonstrates).

          Even worse, today we have the "half-a-coat-hanger" style, which people think looks nice because of the "minimalist" theme, even though, in the loos of modern small houses, when a fat lady goes in she knocks the paper roll off and onto the floor - or straight into the pan.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    So they want to patent sticking things on top of keys?

    How is that different from sticking things on top of other keys? Both just end up with thicker keys, surely?

    1. jai

      Re: So they want to patent sticking things on top of keys?

      helps if you read the article, not just the headlines, they're patenting the way the key action works. making it easier to use different material for the tops of the keys is a side effect.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Re: So they want to patent sticking things on top of keys?

        Which they've included in the patent; presumably because they want no-one else sticking things to keytops?

        1. MrT

          The Royal Society...

          ...for Putting Things on Top of Other Things

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f-kfRREA8M

          Have they included fossilised T.Rex leg-bone keytops in the list? If not, I think I see an opening on the market...

          http://www.reghardware.com/2011/11/02/ipad_2_made_from_t_rex_fossils_costs_5m/

  6. Steve Evans

    "Scissor-switch keys provide fine feedback, but are so 20th-century chubby"

    Then long levers must be 19th century, if not 18th.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      WTF?

      Re: "Scissor-switch keys provide fine feedback, but are so 20th-century chubby"

      The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, initial design 1867, eventually placed on the market as the

      Remington 1 in 1874 by gunsmiths Remington & Sons who were trying to diserfiy from arms manafacture.

      There are several disturbing aspects to this patent, it claims that prior to this so-called invention that all keys were made of plastic, is this an attempt by crApple to patent non-plastic keys?

      The patent desribes a membrane keyboard (how very ZX81), levers which can either rotate about a pivot point or be made of bendy material, and gluing the key to the lever !!!!!!!

      US patent law imposes a duty upon the patent applicant to disclose all known prior art references that would be material to the patent applicatyion, these include:-

      * Printed publications anywhere in the world.

      * Known or used by others in the US.

      * Patented outside the US.

      * Described in a published US patent application.

      * Described in a granted US patent.

      * Described in a published PCT patent application designating the US.

      * In public use in the US.

      * Sold or offered for sale in the US.

      Still, when did prior art bother crApple?

      1. Tom 13

        @Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Once upon a time (or at least so I am told) it was required that a US patent application be for something which was not obvious. Sadly, I'm not sure that has been true within my lifetime.

  7. Kwac

    F.F.S.

    Nothing else.

    Just:

    FFS

  8. SteveK

    I'm sure the old joystick I had back in Spectrum days seemed very similar to this - it had metal domes on strips of copper that were pressed from above by plastic arms attached to the joystick itself. I found that out when I pulled it apart after the metal domes started to split through wear and tear..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      Speccy Joysticks

      IIRC these were leaf switched joysticks, pretty much the cheapest joysticks you could get and the least resilient.

      Us hardened gamers soon tired of the fragility of these sticks and went for micro switched models instead. Although microswitched model still wore out, a switch would tend to totally fail about a month after it went out of warrenty where as leaf switched joysticks would just deteriorate without usually totally breaking.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    ... I plan to file a patent for a left or right hand, moving in an up and down motion against a blood filled, skin covered part of a males anatomy.

    1. Moof
      Meh

      Re: In other news...

      Prior art since the dawn of man I'm afraid.

    2. LaeMing Silver badge
      Go

      Do I understand your patent correctly?

      You mean the throat?

      This invention could be useful for dealing with IP lawyers.

      1. Southern
        Pint

        Re: Do I understand your patent correctly?

        Have a beer sir - made me choke on my morning brew in mirth.

  10. Anonymous IV

    That's meaty o'right!

    So NOW we know where all the pieces of meteorite lost by NASA have gone!

    Any guess as to how much an Apple keyboard with meteoric keys might cost?

    1. James O'Brien
      WTF?

      Re: That's meaty o'right!

      Well seeing as its from crApple it will be touted by the fanbois as a must have product.

      My question is this though...don't we already have coverings over they keys currently? I believe they are typically made of plastic and sometimes painted with the letters and numbers on them...

      So am I now, or soon to be, in violation or apples amazing new patent for the G19 I use at hole or the standard keyboard at work?

      In addition to other options for key coverings check out the following link....

      http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/optimus/

  11. NoneSuch

    Ummmm, sorry, but no...

    That is a telegraph key invented by Baron Schilling von Canstatt in 1832 then made famous by Samuel Morse.

    http://www.pimall.com/nais/pivintage/telegraph.html

    1. ItsNotMe
      Mushroom

      Re: Ummmm, sorry, but no...

      Don't worry...Crapple will be suing their estates & heirs shortly.

    2. The First Dave
      Boffin

      Re: Ummmm, sorry, but no...

      No, it is nothing like a telegraph / morse key - as you can clearly see in that photo, the standard design of a morse key has a partially balanced beam with a pivot-point fairly near to the centre. Apple's design is much more like _some_ typewriter keyboards, in having the pivot at the extreme far end.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already patented in a keyboard in the 90's

    See US patent 5.569,889

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Already patented in a keyboard in the 90's

      As mentioned below, (and I feel the need to comment here as well in case anyone else mistakenly up votes this comment) they are not even close to being the same patent, other than both being about keyboards.

      1. Peter 48
        FAIL

        Re: Re: Already patented in a keyboard in the 90's

        I think you got it wrong. From what I can see they are virtually identical, even going so far as mentioning that it makes the keyboard more aesthetically pleasing and slimmer in profile. The thing is, just because apple or anyone else files a patent doesn't mean it is valid. One of the reasons why it takes so long for patent approval is that the patent office needs to review and verify the uniqueness of the application before it can be granted. I suspect Apple, MS, Google and others routinely have hundreds of patents denied each year. This will be one of them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Re: Already patented in a keyboard in the 90's

          The patent referred to by the OP specifically states that the keys must pop up to be operated rather than remain in their low profile storage state. How is that virtually identical to Apples idea?

      2. dab

        Re: Re: Already patented in a keyboard in the 90's

        The lever key is the common aspect

  13. An ominous cow herd
    Gimp

    You can polish a meteorite up real nice,

    ...but it’ll never be anything other than a meteorite!

  14. ratfox Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Crap patent...

    But at least, it is not a software patent.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well

    I made a keyboard that worked in that exact same way (mainly from plasticard and aluminium foil rather than meteorite) in the mid-eighties and I got the idea from a book I bought at Radio Shack.

    Anonymous, cos I can't afford for apple to come after me

  16. dab
    Happy

    Old idea

    This was developed in the '90s see US Patent 5569889

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Old idea

      Nope. That's not the same patent at all. The one you refer to is describing a means for storing the keyboard in a low profile position. Not having it as a permanently slim keyboard that will function in that way. The patent you refer to would mean in normal operation the keys would pop up so they could be used.

      As always, RTFM.

      1. dab

        Re: Re: Old idea

        It does have the pop-up function but the lever aspect is the same.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From some of comments (synth keys, telegraph keys) it's clear not many actually read the patent and just went with the picture here, only one of the pictures in the actual patent.

    Here's a PDF link which may help (the images on the USPTO site tend to only work on Windows)

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20120043191.pdf

    1. NoneSuch
      Childcatcher

      @+++ath0 If you read up on the history of the telegraph key you will see the original idea was 16 of those keys side by side in a very similar arrangement. Oh and the invention was stolen by a Brit, then a Yank.

      I do appreciate the freepatent reference. Thats good stuff, but it in no way invalidates the previous observations. Cheers.

      "Well everything’s stolen nowadays. Why the fax machine is nothing but a waffle iron with a phone attached."

      ~Grampa Simpson

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Any link to this 16 key telegraph key? I csn't find it via the usual searches.

        I'm M0 with Morse but never heard of it either, quite keen to see it now.

        Cheers

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

          Re: multi-key telegraph

          Not sure about Alter's version but I'm pretty sure the Cooke-Wheatstone version had at least 10 keys. Can't be bothered to check, just ask Google.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Only work with Windows?

      They're in TIFF compression G4; not the most common nowadays, but sort of makes sense for that kind of use. See http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000024.shtml

      From the patent office website:

      "For the Apple Macintosh®, Apple's freely distributed Quicktime version 4.1 works with our images. It is linked from our "Document Formats" Web page."

  18. John Tserkezis

    Why don't they just patent a polished turd and be done with it?

    Dammit.

    1. Euripides Pants Silver badge
      Windows

      patenting polished turds

      Microsoft beat them to it

    2. John 110
      Joke

      http://www.guffsturdpolish.com/

      That is all

      No wait...

      http:/dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-polishing-a-turd.html

  19. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    WTF?

    So simply being "aesthetically pleasing" contributes to needing a patent?

    Should I patent the "ugly MoFo" keyboard then?

    How about we patent a keyboard because IT WORKS differently than other keyboards, and that design difference enables the keyboard to be aesthetically pleasing?

    In other news, I have decided to patent the color blue, because I always thought that it was aesthetically pleasing......

  20. Dave Pickles
    FAIL

    Prior Art?

    A simple keyboard for an electronic organ would look very much like that.

  21. vincent himpe

    so they invented the typewriter mechanism....

    my old gmechanical typewriter already uses a pad for every key supported by its own single long lever.

  22. Mage Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    1800s

    I have an old single key that works like that. It's a telegraph key. As others note, 60 to 104 of these have been miniaturised and put in a skinny box before.

    Mine's not from the 1800s. But 1940s, just like the J38 on wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegraph_key

    I guess it must be common

  23. heyrick Silver badge
    Happy

    How to make it in this world...

    I have a cunning plan. I will release it to the world, for free, but if you use this and make yourself megabucks please push a little my way as I'd love a netbook that can do HD without having a hernia.

    Ready?

    Okay, the USPO doesn't seem to understand prior art, so get something patented, like say a portable tablet with rounded corners.

    Then go to that East District Texas (whatever its called...) and sue everybody in sight. Because your business is "devising innovations in the user interface paradigm" (read: doing very little), it hurts you to see a certain other company trying to extort money for their claim of *your* patent. Luckily that court in Texas tends to favour he who kicks first (plus demonstrably ignoring prior art), so you'll be on to a winner. The only sticking point will be that these wilful malicious damages will be too damaging to express in monetary form. Times three for intent.

    There you go. Make the system work for you...

  24. Zannyblows
    Mushroom

    Now there's an idea... NOT

    Make it out of meteorite? Or other planets?

    Make it out of slabs of Uranus, since most Apple users are a-holes anyway!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US Patent Law out of control

    Timezones????

    Please let some company in the US decide that oxygen is patentable. Once they all asphyxiate it will do the World a huge good.

  26. vgrig_us

    WTF!? It's a piano keys design!

    "Since keyboard rows are offset, the levers won't get in each others' way" - WTF!? It's a piano keys design! Anyone who ever look inside one can tel you that. Mechanical typewriters use same principle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF!? It's a piano keys design!

      Really? Pianos have 0.2mm key travel. Can you read?

      1. vgrig_us

        Re: Re: WTF!? It's a piano keys design!

        "Really? Pianos have 0.2mm key travel. Can you read?" - yes i can: in three languages, no less. Can you? Well how about processing what you read? Diffrerent travel lenght is patent worthy in your opinion?

    2. Franklin
      FAIL

      Re: WTF!? It's a piano keys design!

      A piano has keys that are arranged in multiple horizontal rows offset from one another, in which each key is affixed to a cantilever that is anchored to a pivot at one end and comes into contact with a rounded metal dome on the other?

      Honestly, does ANYONE actually read the patent before commenting, rather than just the summary of the patent in the article? FFS, the link is right there in the middle of the article itself!

      1. vgrig_us

        Re: Re: WTF!? It's a piano keys design!

        Well, how about you try to understand it instead of just reading... Her, try:

        "A piano has keys that are arranged in multiple horizontal rows offset from one another, in which each key is affixed to a cantilever that is anchored to a pivot at one end and comes into contact with a rounded metal dome on the other?"

        Piano keybord has all of that ("multiple horizontal rows offset from one another" - black and white key, organ even has miltiples of those; " in which each key is affixed to a cantilever that is anchored to a pivot at one end" - hell, yeah!) minus "rounded metal dome" - so, "rounded metal dome" worth a patent?

  27. Euripides Pants Silver badge
    Devil

    wee chunks of Mars on your laptop

    Beats wee chunks of Uranus

    1. Ben Rosenthal

      Re: wee chunks of Mars on your laptop

      I'll stick with a Chunky Kit-Kat and a nice cup of coffee when I'm on mine.

  28. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    polished meteorite?

    More like polished coprolite.

  29. xerocred

    Its a morse key!

    Retro...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its a morse key!

      Yeah - a morse key can have varible travel too... Even less than 0.2mm

    2. Edward Hull
      Coat

      Re: Its a morse key!

      save that in a morse key, the leaver is part of the circuit while in apple's idea the leaver must then press a dome-switch.

      For the avoidance of doubt in the case of people mentioning the 'uniqueness' of apple's 0.2mm of travel, the correct tuned distance of travel for a morse key is just enough to break the circuit reliably, as adjusted by user preference. Probably less than 0.2mm in many cases.

      Mine's the one with the morse-tutor course on the MP3 player in the pocket...

      ...one-day I'll actually make the time daily to finish that.

  30. Wang N Staines

    LOL ... this is the sort of shit that Apple come up with.

    No wonder they haven't any patents of value in the FRAND patent pool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which one?

      Apple have a great many patents in patent pools.

      But you'r trying to be clever and just coming across as a foolish hater that can't form a thought properly

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prior art

    When the next one comes along without the pivot, just a springy lever. Quote this message as prior art.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Prior art

      No, that's actually covered by Apple's application.

  32. Steve Ives

    People need to read the filing.

    It's a bit more complicated than ' keyboards where the keys are on levers'.

    Steve

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People need to read the filing.

      No, no, non, nyet, nah, negatory.

      You're suggesting that we read the patent submission and then engage in a reasoned discussion of its technical merits. That's not how it works here. Instead, the article title goes direct to the hardwired bigotry nodes of the commenter's brain, short-circuiting any of that reasoning stuff. That's why any discussions of patents on the Reg are guaranteed to have a noise/signal ration rather than vice versa.

      Basically, for any patent:

      - it's been done before ('We had this on the Babbage Engine I apprenticed on...')

      - the submitters are a bunch of con artists

      - the US patent system is stupid (regardless of which country the patent has been submitted in)

      Please use the above template for any future posts about patents.

      1. what_fresh_hell_is_this?

        Re: Re: People need to read the filing.

        Ha ha ha ha. I can't recall a single comments section where the anti-patent brigade has ever bothered to read the patent. (RTFP.)

        Any attempt to encourage them to do so is either ignored or gets abuse in response.

        There's LOTS wrong with the patent systems round the world but shrieking in ignorance isn't going to solve any of them.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: People need to read the filing.

      > It's a bit more complicated than ' keyboards where the keys are on levers'.

      Erm no sir it ain't. As made perfectly clear by the title and the abstract of the patent application, it exactly _only_ that. All the rest is pseudo-technical fluff as required by any patent application, such as step-by-step description of the operation of the device, vaguer-than-vague proposed manufacturing procedure, precise description of common knowledge operating parts (just in case anyone would wonder how a pivot operates, or what a lever is) etc.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to help them...

    ...by delivering a large meteorite onto Cupertino.

  34. unitron
    Boffin

    If the lever pivots...

    ...at the far end away from the keycap, what makes it un-pivot when the key is no longer depressed?

    1. Armando 123

      Re: If the lever pivots...

      Prozac

  35. jbuk1
    FAIL

    Keys on the end of a lever. Sounds a bit like keys on a music keyboard.

  36. Lloyd

    It's an Emo Phillips joke right?

    My girlfriend said "buy me something I'll never need", so I bought her an Apple keyboard.

  37. alpine

    Any electronic instrument keyboard...

    ... is constructed in exactly the same way as this laughable 'patent'. When WILL the US government sort out the incompetents in charge of their patents office>

  38. Danny 5
    WTF?

    Apple eh?

    So their strategy for ending the mass amount of "frivolous patent claims" is by applying for more frivolous patents?

    When does the hurting stop?

  39. TechnicianJack
    Trollface

    Lever action keyboard? I wonder how long it will be until Apple try to sue Winchester?

  40. Purlieu

    Looks to me

    exactly how a music keyboard works

  41. MerlynUK
    Black Helicopters

    Hmmm...patent the use of 3 existing ideas in a single product...

    So this patent application appears to take 3 existing ideas and combine them into a single design:

    1. Metal dome contacts have been around for yonks, however they are usually located under a membrane.

    2. Lever switches as used in telegraph keys

    3. Customisable key caps to be 'aesthetically pleasing'

    Individually each of these would fall foul of prior art,. I'm no patent expert so would the combination of the 3 ideas be patentable ???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm...patent the use of 3 existing ideas in a single product...

      ''so would the combination of the 3 ideas be patentable ???'

      Well, we'll see won't we?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For all the people commenting that this is how a music keyboard works

    I'm still waiting for a decent sized music keyboard with scissor action keys. Seriously, there must be a market in the 21st century for a keyboard that's not based on 17th century mechanics

  43. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Screw Prior Art

    How does this pass the 'non-obvious' test?

  44. Sceptic Tank
    Headmaster

    "silcone rubber *coud* reduce rattling"

    Say, it looks like the L on that keyboard doesn't always work...

  45. stucs201
    Facepalm

    Since keyboard rows are offset, the levers won't get in each others' way

    So what are they doing to make this work for the numeric section at the right where there isn't an offset?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Since keyboard rows are offset, the levers won't get in each others' way

      They'll patent the offset.

    2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Since keyboard rows are offset, the levers won't get in each others' way

      Numeric section? What numeric section?

  46. Crisp Silver badge
    Go

    You know what that reminds me of?

    The Asus Transformer keyboard.

  47. Jolyon Ralph

    One problem with polished meteorite *

    * Assuming you mean a shiny metallic one, and not one that just looks like a lump of roadstone.

    The problem is rust!

    Meteorites are not good at being handled, and rust easily. Meteorite slices are best oiled and kept out of humidity to avoid decomposition.

    So, neat but utterly impractical.

    Jolyon

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re. One problem with polished meteorite

    I'm patenting "Johnson's Meteor Polish" and "Ronseal Asteroid Varnish"...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: re. One problem with polished meteorite

      'Shooting star shine.'

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm going with the telegraph key...

    ...and the piano keys design. And for reference I'll invoke Tom and Jerry cartoons, specifically one where Jerry goes inside the piano and brakes off 2 'hammers' and one-ups Tom by playing faster and better.

    Keeping noise/sign ratio high.

    Friday afternoons, y'know.

  50. dlc.usa
    Paris Hilton

    L33t g33k sh33k

    Polished meteorite? Whoa, I need to don my industrial-strength shades before gazing upon your exalted status. I am not worthy and bare my neck. ;-^ [Never thought I'd use this icon]

    It's interesting how chatty folks are about this news item.

  51. rbryanh

    Sickening Farce

    What's next? Will some idiotic bureaucracy allow patenting of fingertips? Will I be sued for using mine without paying royalties?

    We're allowing greed to suck all creativity and joy out of life in exchange for giving 5% of the species 95% of the wealth. No person or organization should be permitted to "own" an idea to this degree of specificity, and possession of "intellectual property" should be limited to a modest portion of a human lifetime.

    "Mine!" is not a fact, a reasoned argument, a supportable conclusion, or a reason for existence and those who behave otherwise are a menace to themselves and everyone else. The seagulls in "Finding Nemo" were not admirable, and neither are the people who behave like them. The apotheosis of wealth is suicide.

    An hysterical race over the edge of every cliff is the inevitable outcome of living in a world where ownership of everything is assigned to whoever gets there first. Theft is the only ethical response to cultures which define reasonable profit as the most you can get away with.

    The next time you hear someone shouting "Mine!," take a moment to steal a copy of whatever they're clutching so fanatically.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Silicon Rubber under the keys

    Ah memories of the Sinclair Spectrum 48+. Hard keys with rubber underneath.

    1. Gordon 17

      Re: Silicon Rubber under the keys

      the zx80 and 81 had membrane keyboards, the zx spectrum had dead flesh keyboards the QL had hard plastic keys, and later versions of spectrum had them too.

      as for meteroites as keyboards or filler, they may need to protect parts in pc/laptop as meteroites have a magnetic field be it small. they also can rust if iron in them unless protected.

      I collect them as a hobby.

  53. D. M
    Mushroom

    crApple's target market

    never seen, know or take notice of those old keyboards, keys. Remember they live inside Apple's RDF (Reality distortion field).

    The problem is their army of lawyers will sue everyone else on this planet.

    The whole system needs to be throw out.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another good day for the lawyers, yeehaa!

    It could only come from the Cupertino ranch.

    Anyone remember the old HP calculators with the plastic lever keys striking a PCB domed click switch? What about some of those Nokia phones, with the same arrangement.

    Ok, so there was no trace of polished meteorite, or anything else other than dried snot and other human excremental grime over plastic covering those puppies, but hell, how obvious does it have to be that you can dress a monkey in a suit (or anything else you care to mention, off the top of your head), but not call it the new chief executive of Apple Corp?

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