According to a post by an anonymous user named “Foxconninsider” that surfaced Wednesday morning on Reddit, Apple is allegedly working with a startup called Sonder on a next-generation Magic Keyboard that’s supposedly outfitted with an individual e-ink display on every single key.
Having e-ink-enhanced keys would let the graphics on each individual key change depending on the app currently in use. To me, that sounds a lot like an OLED strip that the rumor-mill believes will be debuting on the next MacBook Pro.
The poster, who claims to work at Tsinghua University (it’s “like the Chinese MIT”), added that Apple is currently in the process of acquiring Sonder.
BGR has more:
“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, of course, is Apple’s key manufacturing partner that assembles many of its devices at its various facilities scattered in China, Taiwan and elsewhere.
The below video of Sonder’s current e-ink keyboard gives you an idea of what might be expected from the next Magic Keyboard.
“Foxconninsider” claimed in another post that the rumored Apple keyboard refresh could use a color e-ink display on each key instead of a grayscale one.
He added that Foxconn also had on display a “new Macbook keyboard module” that should appear on the next MacBook Pro (he’s likely referring to the rumored OLED touch bar replacing the row of function keys).
For what it’s worth, Reddit moderators who saw evidence “Foxconninsider” provided have vouched for him and confirmed his identity.
The new keyboard is reportedly coming sometime in 2018.
The current Magic Keyboard costs $99 a pop and was last refreshed alongside other Magic accessories in October 2015 with a built-in lithium-ion battery, Bluetooth 4.0 with pairing via Lightning, a Lightning port for recharging, San Francisco typeface on the keys, sleek new design and more.