That’s what some sources are claiming. Since launching the first-generation MacBook in 2006, Apple has used a traditional keyboard for this popular line of Macintosh laptops. That may change, however, as rumors suggest that Apple is developing a new touchscreen-compatible keyboard for its upcoming MacBook.

What We Know About Apple’s Touchscreen Keyboard

Apple hasn’t officially announced a new touchscreen keyboard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Last year, Apple Insider found a patent for a touchscreen keyboard filed by Apple. The patent specifically stated that the MacBook would have a clear top with sensors embedded underneath for the purpose of detecting users’ touches.

If true, this would be monumental for Apple’s long-running line of Macintosh computers. No longer would users be required to physically press keys; they could control the MacBook using touch commands on the interface.

This Isn’t an Ordinary Touchscreen Interface

It’s important to note that Apple’s patented touchscreen design isn’t just an ordinary touchscreen interface that’s commonly found on other computer monitors and laptop displays with touchscreen compatibility. Rather, it’s a touchscreen keyboard.

According to the patent, Apple’s new touchscreen keyboard will even feature tactile feedback. The keys themselves will feature a plastic or glass layer, under which are light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that illuminate the virtual keys. When pressed, the virtual keys will create tactile feedback in the form of light vibrations that can be physically felt by the user.

The advent of a touchscreen keyboard could be a game changer for Apple’s MacBook. For starters, it would eliminate the need for a physical, mechanical keyboard, which are often expensive to replace. Second, it would allow for a smaller and more compact design. Third, a touchscreen keyboard could introduce new input methods, such as pinch to zoom.

When Will Apple Launch the New Touchscreen Keyboard?

Considering that Apple hasn’t even confirmed it, there’s no way to tell when exactly Apple will launch the new touchscreen keyboard. In fact, it may never launch it. It’s not uncommon for tech companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google to file patents simply to protect their ideas from being stolen.

If Apple is actually planning to launch the new touchscreen keyboard, though, it will occur in conjunction with the release of a new MacBook. And Apple usually releases at least one new version of the MacBook per year, typically occurring in late fall or early winter. Keep your eyes peeled around this time for announcements made by Apple.