Apple might bring Tactile Feedback to iPhone’s Touchscreen

iPhone virtual Keyboard

Apple has filed a patent application with US patent office called Multi-touch display screen with localized tactile feedback.

As the name suggests, the patent application reveals that Apple wants to bring haptic tactile feedback to iPhone's touchscreen.


If you are a long time iPhone user and are used to its virtual keyboard, you might find the need of a physical keyboard unnecessary. However, some folks insist that its one of the deal breakers.
Apple's patent application suggests that they are looking at improving the user experience of iPhone's virtual keyboard with the help of haptic feedback using “piezoelectric actuators", which will make it easier to use while you are driving the car etc with the help of non-visual hints so you don't have to see the screen while typing.

According to the patent application:

The haptic feedback can take any form, including vibration, and can be paired with other non-visual feedback such as audible noise. …

The display screen can be used to present a visual display which includes a virtual button. A haptic feedback response can be associated with the virtual button. The haptic feedback response can be provided while the virtual button is included in the visual display, or in response to a touch event. For example, the virtual button can vibrate when a touch event occurs in proximity to the virtual button. In addition to virtual buttons, the display can include other user-selectable display elements.

For example, the visual display can include a virtual click wheel associated with a haptic feedback response. For example, the virtual button at the center of the virtual click wheel can vibrate at a different frequency than the virtual wheel surrounding it. The virtual wheel and the virtual button at the center can vibrate while they are included in the visual display, or in response to a touch event. By providing dynamic, localized, haptic feedback at the location of the virtual click wheel, the present invention enables a user to find and operate the virtual click wheel non-visually.

iPhone virtual Keyboard

It will be interesting to see if the improvements mentioned in the patent application will convince users who believe that lack of a physical keyboard is one of the deal breakers.

It is also important to note that Apple's patent applications
generally reveal a very wide-range of possibilities but might never see
the light of day though its interesting to get a glimpse of Apple's
recent research effort.

In addition to the tactile feedback patent application, MacRumors has revealed that Apple has also filed patent application for Fingerprint Identification and RFID reader for iPhone.

As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.