Microsoft’s next Surface Pro could come with a much slimmer and lighter keyboard, according to freshly discovered patent.
The patent – titled ‘low-profile keysets and input devices’ – was filed by the Redmond firm back in January and was published by WIPO two weeks ago.
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Microsoft appears to be looking to lower the profile of the keyset to reduce the stack height of the keyboard (via Windows Latest).
The firm seems to be thinking about using a lot more metal in future keyboard designs, with consideration put forward for totally metallic keys in order to slim down the keyboard’s overall profile.
The keys would come with a noise softening layer hidden beneath the keycap to prevent the new keyboard from clinking when you’re smashing out a good rant on social media. The patent also contains suggestions for using thermoplastic polymer keys, or keys made out of metal alloys.
“In certain examples, the thinness or height of a metallic input key (as measured along the z-axis, and excluding the height added by a flange, which is discussed in greater detail below) is less than 0.2 mm, less than 0.15 mm, less than 0.1 mm, in a range of 0.01- 0.2 mm, in a range of 0.05-0.15 mm, or in a range of 0.05-0.1 mm,” reads the patent, explaining the claimed benefits of metallic keys and their correlation to thinness.
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The patent doesn’t actually specifically mention the Surface Pro, instead simply referring to an undefined “computing device”, but the hinge on the diagram certainly looks enough like the Surface Pro range to get us wondering.
This isn’t the only keyboard improvement Microsoft has been rumoured to be working on this year. The company was spotted filing a patent for its Surface Pro Type Cover back in May, which would allow the keyboard to stay pinned back by magnets when the device is in use as a tablet.
With the original patent having been filed back in January it wouldn’t be a surprise if Microsoft released a Surface laptop with some serious keyboard improvements later this year.