When working on a new feature or device, Apple usually takes it’s time to get it right.
They’ve spent years perfecting multi-touch interface, before it was released for public consumption with 2007 iPhone launch. Then they’ve spent 3 more years adapting this UI to a tablet device. The same goes for smaller features, like copy-paste on the iPhone, multi-tasking, etc;
There is one more feature, that other touchphones had for years now, missing in iPhone. Haptic feedback. And now we may know why Steve Jobs has been ignoring haptic response for so long. Apple is working on haptic feedback technology, called Multi-Haptics, on their own.
This technology is described in a patent application called “Multi Touch with Multi Haptics”, filed by Apple in April 2009.
The idea is to spread an array of haptic actuators around the touch panel and device housing. Then, have a database of haptic response profiles, and match these profiles to various multi-touch gestures performed on the display.
I don’t want to go into too many technical details here, you can read all about them in the patent application yourself. But if Apple is able to get it right, the difference between current and Multi Haptics technology might be as profound, as the difference between traditional touch interfaces before iPhone, and Multi-Touch.
When/if Multi-Haptics technology gets out of Apple R&D labs, into live products, it would certainly be a very cool addition to your iPhone 5 or iPad 2.
If you liked the post, you might find these interesting too:
- Apple files for iPhone/iPad haptic feedback system patent. Already explores manufacturing options
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- Samsung SPH M4650 Multi-Touch Smartphone
- Nokia is exploring 3D multi-touch interface
- Apple is looking to improve multi-touch with “hover sensing” on iPhones and iPads