Patent published on August 22, 2023

Apple's New Patent Might Make iPhones Smarter to Touch

The bustling world of smartphones is continuously evolving, and the latest example is a new patent by Apple, number US11735014B2. As technology advances, smartphones are increasingly indistinguishable from one another in terms of look and feel. In response to this, this patent promises to make the way we interact with our devices more intuitive and efficient.

The issue that Apple seeks to address lies in the often uniform haptic feedback that smartphones provide. Haptic feedback, or the physical response you get from your phone when you interact with it, is often the same no matter what you’re doing on your phone. This leads to a lack of nuance in the device's responses and can even result in missed alerts or notifications.

Apple’s solution, according to the patent, is to provide custom haptic feedback based on the context of the interaction. In simpler words, a user will experience different types of physical responses from their phones based on what they are interfacing with on the screen.

What could this mean for the average phone user? Imagine, for example, dragging an app icon across your phone screen, and feeling a little ‘bump’ when you cross over another app. Or sliding your finger down a menu and feeling a vibration that gets slightly more intense the lower you scroll. Such intricate, powerful response systems can dramatically redefine the association between our actions and the responses we receive from our devices.

In the future, the world of smartphone use might become more interactive and physically engaging. Apple’s patent also mentions reducing the level of vibration or sound a notification makes depending on whether the device is in your hand, your pocket, or on a flat surface. This implies we may see a future where our smartphones are better at understanding their immediate environment and adjusting their behaviors accordingly.

Existing Apple users are familiar with the level of innovation Apple often brings to its products, and this new patent promises the same. However, it's worth noting that a patent doesn't guarantee that the invention would necessarily hit the market. Therefore, no matter how promising this sounds, users may still need to wait to see whether this development materializes in actual Apple devices.

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