Microsoft Patent Suggests Method for a Thinner Surface Pro Keyboard

The next Surface Pro is rumored for a significant redesign, and part of that may be a thinner keyboard that utilizes etching and circuit board-integrated touchpad.

A patent filed by Microsoft suggests plans for an even thinner keyboard. The document suggests etching the keyboard as well as integrating the trackpad in the keyboard's circuit board. Such a move could reduce its weight and thickness.

The change would bring it closer to the Touch cover, which was thinner than current models but didn't feel quite as tactile. Interestingly, the mockups of the touchpad show more rounded edges on the bottom corners, which is interesting.

The thickness of the Pro keyboard isn't really an issue when in use, but it does add to the bulk when in a bag or being held. In essence, it undoes some of the hard work engineers have done to make the tablet thinner.

“Techniques for a circuit board for an input device are described. In at least some embodiments, an input device is integrated with a circuit board of a device,” explains the patent. For example, a touch interaction area of the input device is formed by cutting and / or etching a portion of the circuit board such that the touch interaction area is movable with respect to adjacent portions of the circuit board. In one or more embodiments, an input device includes a switch such that movement of the touch interaction region actuates the switch to generate a click-enter event.”

Surface Pro Re-design Rumors

It's worth noting that rumors suggest the next generation Pro will feature a redesign. Many are hoping for the sleek, curved bezel-less look of the iPad Pro, but accessory redesigns could also play a part.

Ultimately, though patents don't always describe practical designs. Considerations such as cost, tactility, and more could all stop this design coming to market. We've previously seen designs for a secondary display, which is interesting but even less likely.