One of the defining features of the Apple Watch, “Force Touch,” could be getting a slight tweak for larger displays if a patent is any indication of the future.
On Thursday, December 11, Apple applied for a patent that outlines a flexible display that can actually deform to a hard press and provide tactile feedback. Under the display would be a series of bumps and/or ridges, which would simulate buttons or other interface elements when interacted with via the long-press on the display.
“Electronic devices may be provided that contain flexible displays and internal components. An internal component may be positioned under the flexible display. The internal component may be an output device such as a speaker that transmits sound through the flexible display or an actuator that deforms the display in a way that is sensed by a user. The internal component may also be a microphone or pressure sensor that receives sound or pressure information through the flexible display. Structural components may be used to permanently or temporarily deform the flexible display to provide tactile feedback to a user of the device.“
The application indicates that this display would be sensitive enough to determine between the touch of a finger and pressure applied to it. This is the same thing that Apple’s Watch can do, but there would be a big difference between the smartphone implementation and that on the smaller wearable. With the Watch, the gadget tells the difference between the touch and pressure via series of sensors along the edge of the display. The patent application shows that with the larger display, motors, vibrators or piezoelectric actuators housed beneath the screen would actually create haptic feedback with the reaction to pressure.
This could very well some day be the future of the Watch, but it could also be what Apple has in store for future iPhones.
The filing actually goes beyond that, though, and outlines the way that a microphone and speaker could work through the display, which would be a stark change to the way phones are designed in the future.
What do you think? Something you could find useful?[via 9to5Mac; Apple Toolbox]