Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are obviously its biggest launches this year, but Apple might still have a trick or two up its sleeve before 2016 is done. The company is rumored to be planning a press conference later this month at which it may unveil a number of updated products in its Mac lineup. The star of the show, if recent reports pan out, will be a completely redesigned MacBook Pro with a special secondary touchscreen display above the standard keyboard that will be home to a row of morphing function keys. Rumor has it this screen will show different keys depending on which app is being used, opening up a wide range of new functionality for MacBook Pro owners.
But according to a new report, that’s not the only innovative new peripheral Apple is has in development right now.
An anonymous Reddit user named “Foxconninsider” took to the site early Wednesday morning with some very intriguing claims. She says she works at Tsinghua University, which she notes is “like the Chinese MIT.” The user supplied some evidence to Reddit moderators behind the scenes, and they have since vouched for him and confirmed his identity.
Foxconninsider says that Foxconn hosted a closed-doors event at the University recently, during which representatives from the manufacturing giant allegedly showed off prototypes of two unreleased Apple products. Foxconn, as most readers will recall, is Apple’s main manufacturing partner and it builds a number of Apple devices at its various facilities.
The first unreleased device Foxconn supposedly had on display was the “new Macbook keyboard module” expected to appear on Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pro. As we’ve seen in mockups of the new MacBook Pro created by well-known designer Martin Hajek, the OLED function key panel is shaping up to be one of the most exciting new laptop features we’ve seen in years.
But we already knew that.
In addition to the new OLED panel expected to hit the next MacBook Pro, the Redditor also claims to have seen a second new Apple device that no one even knew was in development. The device in question, according to his claims, was a very early prototype of a next-generation Magic Keyboard. Apple’s current Magic Keyboard is a simple wireless keyboard model that users are quite familiar with at this point. According to Foxconninsider’s claims though, the new model features some exciting new technology that could completely change the way people use their Macs.
Carrying forth a concept similar to what we’re expecting from the OLED panel on the MacBook Pro, Apple’s next-generation Magic Keyboard accessory will supposedly feature an individual E Ink display on every single key. This way, the graphics on individual keys or groups of keys can change depending on a person’s needs or the application currently in use.
The anonymous Redditor said that Apple is working with a startup called Sonder on the keyboard, and she said that Apple is currently in the process of acquiring the startup. The video below shows Sonder’s current E Ink keyboard to give you an idea of what to expect, though Foxconninsider wrote in a later post that Apple’s next-generation Magic Keyboard could feature color E Ink instead of grayscale.
According to the post, Apple plans to release its new Magic Keyboard sometime in 2018.