One of the major pitfalls about touchscreen devices is the lack of tactile feedback you get from the smooth surface. Using the touchscreen without looking at it is pretty much impossible unless you have an awesome memory that lets you remember the position of every single button on the screen and you know where to press by heart. Apple applied for the tactile touchscreen idea way back in December 2009 but it seems to have been awarded only recently. The patent talks about some sort of tactile feedback mechanism that provides bumps like dots, bars and other shapes on the touchscreen so users get the feeling of hitting a key when they touch a virtual key. Another idea describes some sort of frame that can cause concave depressions on the surface of the screen, with higher resistance when pressing away from the center and a softer resistance when pressing the key at the center – similar to the keys you have on your keyboards right now. As the case with all patents – there’s no guarantee we’ll be seeing any of these technologies being used in an actually product, but we can always hope. Tactile touchscreens on the next iPhone will surely give users something to write home about.
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