A recently granted patent shows that Apple explores the idea of a "dual-display" laptop or iPad that avoids physical keys. Entitled "dual display equipment with improved visibility and suppressed reflections", details a device that could act, essentially, as a giant touchbar – switch between a keyboard and content-specific controls.
The documentation shows two different configurations: one with a permanent hinge and another that allows to remove and use separately the second screen, a Microsoft Surface Surface Pro and others two-in-one devices. It also states that the main screen of the device would be an OLED screen with the secondary device being an LCD.
This is an interesting idea, which could turn the space formerly reserved for typing into a highly configurable workspace with many options for artists, video editors and occasional web browsers. Apple's Pencil, for example, could be used as a main input device on a MacBook and artists could use numerical adjustment knobs, color palettes, and color tools. Drawing that better use the screen space.
But this also forces users to tap on a flat surface without the tactile feel of physical keys. So, there is that.
As usual, it's worthwhile to remind everyone that a patent is only an idea, and that it's just as likely to get find in the trash than on a future Apple product. And this one, honestly, seems more likely for the first than for the last – at least until someone finds a way to make flat keys "feel" like real ones.