Apple loves a good patent surprise and one of the most recent shows that future MacBooks may have individual displays on each of the keys.
“Control circuitry in the keyboard may direct the key displays to display dynamically adjustable key labels for the keys,” the patent application says.
— Technobezz (@technobezz) December 30, 2020
This means that the keyboard would be significantly more reconfigurable and wouldn’t require the double sticker effect that current keyboards need for keys that have more than one purpose.
The responsive keys would light up when pressed or possibly indicate whether option, control or command keys are pressed. The design is made for mechanical keys, which is what the current laptops currently use.
This doesn’t mean that such a keyboard will grave new additions of MacBooks or the company’s magic keyboards anytime soon. Apple files patents for ideas all the time and while some are eventually made for the mass market, many are just kept in their back pocket.