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In the future, Mac keyboards might actively blow out dust as you type.

Mike Pomranz
March 12, 2018

Computer owners tend to fall into one of two groups: Mac users and PC users – a fact that Apple famously made light of with its “Get a Mac” ad campaign from the late aughts. Proponents of both point to plenty of reasons for their decisions, from obvious factors like price and performance to more subtle differences like the keyboard. Speaking of which, Apple has apparently been actively working on ideas to improve its keyboards – including an issue busy people who eat at their computers face on a regular basis: crumbs behind the keys.

Late last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published an application from Apple Inc. for “ingress prevention for keyboards.” That’s a fancy way to say the California-based tech giant wants to figure out a way to keep little bits from your everything bagel from slipping under your spacebar. The patent, which was actually originally filed back on September 8, 2016, offers up two potential ways to deter dirt, according to The Verge. The first seals off any gaps which would stop crumbs from finding their way into unwanted crevasses to begin with; the second puts a mechanism underneath the keys that would actively force out air every time a key is pressed, essentially continuing to purge your keyboard of dust as you type.

Though keeping crumbs out of a keyboard might seem like one of the simpler tasks a tech company has to tackle – at least compared to the science behind building things like computer processors, solid state hard drives and touchscreens – the 19-page patent contains nearly two dozen drawings and more written examples than even the most diehard computer nerds would feel like wrapping their head around. Meanwhile, as should be said with any patent, just because a company applies for it, doesn’t mean the technology works or will ever make it to market. Still, it’s comforting to know that someone out there is working towards the ultimate dream: eating a hoagie over your keyboard without fearing any repercussions. Maybe that would be the difference maker that ends the Mac vs. PC debate once and for all.