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Glass keyboards could come to Apple’s future MacBooks

Future Apple MacBooks could come with transparent glass keys, potentially marking the next step in Apple’s ongoing keyboard obsession. At least, that is the indication from a recently published patent belonging to the tech giant for glass keyboard keys.

The patent explains that the glass keycaps would have each letter or symbol printed on their underside, rather than on the top as is common with current keyboards. This would help to prevent the symbols rubbing off over an extended period, meaning your keys would be as clear as the day you bought them for (hopefully) many years.

That is not the only benefit Apple hopes to gain from this new type of keycap. The patent goes on to discuss how glass keys can improve backlighting, too, as their surfaces can reflect and distribute light effectively. This could result in more energy-efficient backlighting that saves on battery life, ultimately allowing you to use your laptop for longer.

Using glass keys — or keys made of a transparent ceramic or polymer — would result in a surface that is much harder to scratch or damage, even over the lengthy life cycles laptops often experience, according to Apple. Each key’s edge could be given a different texture to the middle of the key, making it easier to locate while you are typing.

The inherent solidity of glass could also potentially allow each keycap to be made thinner than current MacBook keys without flexing or bending under pressure. From Apple’s perspective, that can only be a good thing.

One of the main purposes of the butterfly keyboard was to create a more stable, durable keyboard that could stand up to the rigors of daily use without wobbling or declining in quality. While that did not quite work out, it is clearly a goal that Apple has not yet given up on.

For now, Apple is equipping its Macs with the revamped Magic Keyboard, which we feel is a vast improvement over the troublesome butterfly keyboard. Apple regularly files patents and there is no guarantee its idea for glass keycaps will ever make it into a product, but given the improvements it could bring, we have our fingers crossed.

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Google Pixel 4a pre-orders go live with August 20 availability

Google’s newest phone, the Pixel 4a, is finally available for pre-order. Having blown by its expected May launch, the handset arrives with a wallet-friendly $350 price tag.When much of the fanfare and advertising for phones tends to center around flagships and devices approaching $1,000, Google’s latest is a fraction of the price. Nevertheless, it still has more than enough hardware and modern software to satisfy the needs of the masses.At just $350, the Pixel 4a runs Android 10 and largely features the same camera experience that’s found in the Pixel 4. Moreover, it also has a headphone jack and a bigger battery than the standard model.Android 105.81-inch FHD+ displayQualcomm Snapdragon 730 processor6GB RAM128GB storage12.2-megapixel dual-pixel rear camera8-megapixel wide-angle camera3140mAh battery3.5mm audio jackAs to why the Pixel 4a is less than half the price of the Pixel 4, there are plenty of reasons. It’s just up to the buyer to determine whether it’s worth spending the extra money.With that said, the Pixel 4a does not have wireless charging, nor does it have the soft-touch glass back and water resistant protection. Instead it has a polycarbonate body to keep price down.AvailabilityThe Pixel 4a is available for pre-order in the US at Google Store and on Google Fi where it can be purchased unlocked at just $350. It will be more widely available to customers on August 20 through the Google Store, Best Buy, Amazon, and more. Additionally, US carriers will offer the phone, including Google Fi, US Cellular, and Verizon.Customers who purchase the Pixel 4a receive three month free trials of YouTube Premium, Google Play Pass and Google One.Interestingly enough, the Google Pixel 4a appears to be offered in black only through Google’s online store. Other colors expected in the lead-up to announcement included white and blue. Perhaps various carriers and retailers will have different options.

Google begins dropping details on Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5

Today might be the official arrival of the Google Pixel 4a, but that doesn’t mean Google isn’t already looking to the horizon. Indeed, Google is ready to share details about the next few models in the pipeline.According to Google, the Pixel 4a (5G) and the Pixel 5 will arrive “this fall” and both will feature 5G connectivity. Moreover, Google is already sharing its expected price for the former, putting it at just $499.Whether the true difference between the standard 4a and the 5G-ready version is 5G support remains unclear.Google often debuts its flagship Pixel phones in October, and that would definitely fit in thethis fall” timeline. However, with the ongoing pandemic, and the fact that the Pixel 4a arrived nearly three months later than expected, it’s hard to say for sure.As Google tells us both the Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 will be available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.If you’re interested in learning more about either of these phones, you can sign up to receive updates.

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