Apple is dead set on changing the way we do input on the iPads and it’s going to implement next gen haptics technology on future slates, according to new patents. A fresh patent application from the USPTO details that and we break it down below.
The patent is known as “Static Pattern Electrostatic Haptic Electrodes”. It’s supposed to make virtual keyboards feel like real ones and more realistic to the touch. The Apple invention is related to haptics, that will employ one or more static pattern electrostatic haptic electrodes, driven by one or more voltages, in order to provide forms of haptic output.
Basically, the Home button of the iPhone 7 comes to mind, mimicking a real pressable button with special vibrations. Each key must provide a special type of feedback and also all of them together should offer combinations of reactions to your typing, to make it feel authentic. This requires a complex system, a conductive material, which is densest at the edges of the virtual key and decreases in density towards the center of the virtual key.
The keys should also be able to simulate texture and texture changes when moving your fingers on them. As we move close and closer to the inevitable moment when iPad and MacBook become one, it has become unavoidable that virtual keyboard input will become the main input. There will be accessories, but the core experience will be a touch one. Of course, a patent is just that and we’re years from its implementation.