Apple got a new patent for the future of trackpads.
Apple is right now rolling out a new touchpad with Force Touch, but this is not the end of the evolution of touch control. Apple got a new patent that describes a touchpad that is able to simulate materials according to PatentlyApple. This means users can feel texture when touching the touchpad and the simulation goes as far as to adjust temperature.
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Users would be able to feel for instance wood and metal surfaces. Wood would feel warmer than metal. Why would we need that? This is not clear yet, but it sounds interesting. It would allow for instance to feel and touch products virtually.
To transmit the new touch experience Apple proposes a layer of chemical vapor deposited diamond, such as a layer of carbon vapor deposited diamond.
How far out a texture and temperature touchpad is unknown. Besides the technical issues, Apple has to come up with a credible use case for it.
The new MacBook and the Apple Watch are the first Apple products introducing Force Touch. Users will have to get cozy with these new capabilities first and this will take a while.
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It is exciting times for Apple. Tomorrow the Apple Watch ships and on Monday April 27, Apple will reveal the Q2 Earnings numbers. It is not clear yet if Apple will reveal anything about the Apple Watch sales numbers. Analysts are mixed on the numbers that Apple will announce. Q2 is a difficult quarter that follows the extreme Q1 that includes the Holiday shopping season.