As well as the touch interface, the patent also notes the use of reverse wireless charging, with the area where your wrists would normally rest able to charge suitably equipped devices, such as the Apple Watch or the iPhone, presumably when the laptop is not in use.
Putting aside the idea of a completely touchscreen based keyboard (even though there are countless consumes used to typing only on a tablet or smartphone screen, the patent suggest that a thin physical keyboard could be laid over the touch enabled surface.
What’s more likely is a MacBook where the entire area below the keyboard is taken up by this touch sensitive surface; potentially with a display underneath, wireless reverse charging, or both.
In this continuation patent, Apple describes a laptop that uses a touch based lower surface for input rather than a physical keyboard.
"With this next-gen MacBook having a glass input surface also means that the MacBook could take on completely new interfaces beyond a keyboard and trackpad… It could theoretically present users with a game controlling interface when playing a video game.
As Scotland’s first podcaster, I continue to be a prominent voice in the rise of podcasting and new media online, and picked up a British Academy (BAFTA) nomination for my annual coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, alongside contributions to Radio 5 Live, the BBC World Service, presenting Edinburgh local radio’s coverage of the General Election.
Map symbols for the Apple Maps app can be seen on a MacBook Pro in Cupertino, USA, 27 October 2016. … [+] Apple presented a series of models of its notebooks: On the MacBook Pro model, the row of control keys will be replaced with a thin touch-screen bar.
This would physically translate the typing movements onto the touchscreen underneath; a technique that Purcher notes will be used in the upcoming Surface Neo, but one that can be seen going back through the history of touchscreen devices (2000’s Ericsson R380 being an early example).