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Apple patent for ‘input device with haptic feedback’ hints at touchscreen Macs

Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,613,678) for an “input device with haptic feedback” that hints at touchscreen Macs. It also hints at touchscreens across the company’s devices that can detect and respond to a finger close to the screen without actually being touched.

Apple notes that touch-sensitive devices, and touch screens in particular, are popular “because of their ease and versatility of operation as well as their affordable prices.” In general, touch screens can recognize a touch and the position of the touch on the touch sensor panel, and the computing system can then interpret the touch in accordance with the display appearing at the time of the touch, and thereafter can perform one or more actions based on the touch.

However, in the case of some touch sensing systems, a physical touch on the display is not needed to detect a touch. For example, in some capacitive-type touch sensing systems, fringing electric fields used to detect touch can extend beyond the surface of the display, and objects approaching near the surface may be detected near the surface without actually touching the surface

Here’s the summary of the invention: “Haptic feedback can be provided to a user via an input device to give a user a richer interaction experience with the input device and host device. The input device can include a magnet and a host device can include an array of coils. The coils can be driven to generate a magnetic field (or one or more magnetic fields) that can exert a force on the input device to provide haptic feedback.

“In some examples, the haptic feedback can be a push force pushing the input device away from the device or a pull force pulling the input device toward the device. In some examples, the haptic feedback can guide the input device using lateral forces. The haptic feedback described herein can be used for writing, drawing or actuating virtual input controls in a user interface.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.