As one of the world’s leading tech companies, Apple has played a key role in the progression of touchscreen devices. In 2007, the Cupertino company released the first-generation iPhone. While groundbreaking for many reasons, the first-generation iPhone was the world’s first touchscreen device featuring multi-touch technology. Since then, Apple has included multi-touch technology in nearly all of its touchscreen devices.
Apple’s New Patent for Haptics Touchscreen Tech
It appears that Apple’s next project may involve the development of touchscreen devices with haptics feedback. Earlier this month, Apple fined a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for touchscreen tech that’s capable of mimicking the physical characteristics of a mechanical keyboard.
Available to view at the USPTO’s official website, the patent essentially describes a virtual touchscreen-controlled keyboard — like the keyboards used on nearly all smartphones and tablets — that responds with tactile feedback like a mechanical keyboard. Apple says the virtual keyboard will feature a layer of haptic electrodes that creates tactile feedback.
“A virtual keyboard device includes a surface, a static pattern electrostatic haptic electrode disposed on an area of the surface,” wrote Apple in the patent.
Why Apple Is Developing Haptics Touchscreen Tech
So, why is Apple eager to develop touchscreen tech with haptics feedback? Touchscreen devices already support haptics or tactile feedback. When you press or tap the display interface on a typical touchscreen device, it will likely respond by vibration. A form of tactile feedback, vibrations allow you to easily recognize when the touchscreen device registers your touch command. Apple’s patented technology serves the same purpose, but it offers a more genuine form of tactile feedback that’s commonly associated with mechanical keyboard.
There’s no denying the fact that mechanical keyboards produce better tactile feedback than virtual touchscreen-controlled keyboards. Whether you’re typing an email or surfing the internet, you’ll experience greater tactile feedback when using a mechanical keyboard. Apple is looking to bridge the gap between virtual and mechanical keyboards, however, by developing a new haptics-based virtual keyboard.
The haptics-based virtual keyboard will function just like other virtual keyboards, except it will feature greater haptics or tactile feedback. As a result, you’ll be able to feel the responses more easily.
It’s important to note that Apple has only applied for the patent; the USPTO has not yet granted the patent to the Cupertino company. With that said, however, there’s a very good possibility that Apple will receive the patent for its haptics touchscreen technology.