Apple Inc. is expected to debut its refreshed lineup of Macbooks Pro’s with a functional OLED strip in the coming months, but it has something exceptional in store for future releases. According to numerous sources, Apple is currently gunning to acquire an Australian startup called ‘Sonder Design’. But, what is so special about this startup!?
Sonder, a design studio headquartered in Sydney that pioneered dynamic e-ink keyboards is currently in early talks with Apple for a possible acquisition. The design studio is also a part of Foxconn’s International Holding’s (FIH) Incubator program.
Sonder is the company which is mostly recognized for its keyboard technology which relies on e-ink to display all labels, numbers, alphabets on the keyboard. This gives the keyboard the power to morph any label as and when required. For example, the keyboard also has a firmwire built-in that dynamically changes the labels depending on the program, such as Battlefield, Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, etc. open on the screen. The Sonder keyboard which debuts soon is currently up for pre-order at $199.
The rumor mill surrounding the acquisition started off with a Reddit post, along with testimonials of eye-witnesses who’ve been treated to new working Apple keyboard prototypes at Tsinghua University in Beijing. This is an excerpt of original comment from a redditor, who works at the university:
I work on Tsinghua university campus, it is like the Chinese MIT. It hosted a Foxconn event where I saw the new Macbook keyboard module design and Apple’s 2018 E Ink Magic Keyboard that’s a DFT model. (DFT is design for testing).
The startup Sonder makes a smart keyboard module, it has a new magnetic mechanical mechanism and a lit E Ink display which allows for swapping shortcuts and languages etc. I saw it swap between a few programs and languages (English, Japanese, Taiwanese layouts etc).
Though all this hubbub seemed like a silly prank(or a hoax) but Sonder has now confirmed to 9to5Mac that discussions with Cupertino did take place. It also added that the FIH and E-Ink Holdings, the company who develops e-ink displays is aiding the company in negotiation talks.
The Gurdian goes a step further to confirm that CEO Tim Cook indeed met with founder Francisco Serra-Martins during his ongoing China trip. It is the same trip during which Cook announced the setup of a new R&D center in Shenzen, the mecca of tech manufacturing.
The Cupertino giant is looking to bring this startup on board for its keyboard technology, which relies on E-ink to change all key labels as required. There is currently no word on how the company plans to use this revolutionary idea, but a Macbook integration is the most likely solution. We might not see the new keyboards at the coming fall hardware event but Apple is truly working aggressively to bring more futuristic tech to its products in the coming months.