This E Ink keyboard is cool, but probably not coming to new Macs soon

This E Ink keyboard is cool, but probably not coming to new Macs soon

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The Sonder keyboard uses E Ink underneath each key to switch typing layouts and display different shortcut icons.The Sonder keyboard uses E Ink underneath each key to switch typing layouts and display different shortcut icons.
Image: screenshot: Sonder design/youtube
2016%2f09%2f15%2f9c%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzaz.a0161By Raymond Wong2016-10-14 16:20:03 UTC

With Apple's Mac lineup looking old and dusty (almost all of them are due for refreshes), it's no surprise startups are looking to drum up interest for their products and innovations with dubious rumor-spreading.

The questionable Reddit post (since deleted) involved a "smart magic keyboard" from Australian startup Sonder that uses E Ink to dynamically switch each key, allowing shortcuts to be mapped to individuals depending on what app is open. It could also be used to potentially configure different keyboard layouts for different languages.

The Reddit user claimed the keyboard was a prototype for 2018 iMacs and MacBooks.

The product was shown at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The Guardian then "confirmed" Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Sonder CEO Francisco Serra-Martin on Wednesday and that Apple was maybe interested in an acquiring the startup.

But that's apparently hogwash because the startup apparently never met with Cook.

Responding to a Reddit user, Sonder wrote:

The article published contains a number of factual errors, we did not meet Tim Cook although we would very like the opportunity to. Sonder is pleased with the incredible response from the industry and looks forward to releasing our products shortly.

Mashable received a highly suspect email (from a sketchy Gmail address, no less) looking for coverage on the "tip":

Hi Raymond ,

I follow you on twitter and thought I would share a tip related to the Foxconn new leak about the new Apple Macbook leak and Apple's attempt to buy a Foxconn startup, Sonder.

My friend works for Foxconn's mobile business unit and is an EA for a Foxconn Mobile executive. She translated at Wednesday's dinner function with Sonder, Tim Cook and the Taiwanese executives attending.

If you want to email her, let me know but only if you keep her name private.

Best regards,
[REDACTED]

It's unclear if the Guardian's contact was the same person that reached out to Mashable.

For what it's worth, Sonder's E Ink keyboard, which resembles an Apple Magic Keyboard, looks pretty neat:

According to the Guardian's reading of the original, deleted Reddit post, the new keyboard reportedly destined for new Macs had a few differences from Sonder's, including backlit keys and even faster key refreshes when changing layouts.

But with Sonder denying the meetup with Cook and the Reddit user deleting his original post, it's starting to sound like all the chatter about acquisitions was a hoax intended to generate interest for the startup's $200 keyboard launching later this year.

Apple acquires startups for their technologies all the time, but it seldom announces them. Apple also would never allow a startup to announce acquisition talks, either. It's just not the Apple way.

What is likely coming are new MacBook Pros with revamped designs and an OLED "touch bar strip" that'll replace row of function keys on existing MacBooks.

The OLED strip is believed to be configurable and will show different icons and notifications for different apps.

Apple's expected to announce the new MacBook Pros by the end of the month.

Topics: Apple, e-ink, e-ink keyboard, Gadgets, MacBook, Macbook Pro, Tech

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