Does Apple think the future of the MacBook is one without a keyboard?

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The future of the laptop could be a computer without a keyboard, if a patent obtained by Apple is to be believed.

The technology giant has submitted a patent application in the US that appears to show a MacBook with a flat surface instead of a keyboard. The application also hints at haptic feedback built into the surface that could tell the user when they’ve hit a key.

Such a feature – Force Touch – is built into the current generation MacBook.

The design has come to light thanks to the publication of the application by the Patent and Trademark Office in the US.

Further drawings within the application appear to suggest the surface could be configurable to move between a keyboard and other features, for example a larger trackpad for design work or even sketching.

The document is still just a patent application for now, so any similar additions to the MacBook are unlikely in the near future, though the ideas are clearly still flowing in Cupertino.