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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,661
16,816


Apple is interested in expanding the use of haptic feedback on MacBook devices, according to a newly granted patent filing.

forcetouch.png

The patent, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Laptop computing device with discrete haptic regions" and explains how a MacBook could provide significantly expanded haptic feedback across multiple areas.

Since the 2015 MacBook, Apple has included the Force Touch trackpad on all of its new laptops, such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Beyond the ability to detect how much pressure is placed on the trackpad, the Force Touch trackpad also delivers haptic feedback.

force_touch_coils.jpg
The Taptic Engine currently used in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to deliver haptic feedback.​

On MacBooks, haptic feedback is used to give the impression of a physical click, when the trackpad is actually static. In addition, it can offer useful contextual information in conjunction with on-screen content. For example, when moving a shape in a document or spreadsheet, haptic feedback is used to allow users to feel when it is in alignment with a margin or another object.

While haptics have thus far been reserved for the trackpad only on MacBooks, Apple is now actively researching how it can expand haptic feedback to more areas of the device.

Beyond simply making the technology more widespread on devices, Apple suggests that the utility of haptic feedback can be advanced by providing it in different areas to indicate a wider range of information. For example, haptic feedback could be distinctively provided on the left, middle, and right of a MacBook, and the feedback is said to be "imperceptible outside that region." Apple calls this system "spatially localized haptics."

localized-haptics-patent-macbook-hands.jpg

Some spatially localized haptics may overlap, but each has its own individual haptic actuator. Apple suggests that these areas may also be capable of accepting touch input to trigger haptic feedback. Interestingly, the patent notes that "force sensors" may be used to detect pressure input, presumably like the current implementation under the Force Touch Trackpad.

localized-haptics-patent-macbook.jpg

The system involves haptics that are so widespread that "an input area may encompass part of an electronic device's housing and be large enough that a user may touch multiple portions of the input area simultaneously."

Apple's spatially localized haptics are also said to be much more distinctive than normal haptic feedback, allowing users to clearly "distinguish between haptic outputs" in different areas.

localized-haptics-patent-areas.jpg

In terms of practical uses, the patent suggests that this system of spatially localized haptics could be used in response to the force of a user typing on a keyboard, offering an additional confirmation that an actuation force was registered. Alternately, the localized haptics may provide distinctive tactile outputs from either side of the palm rest, such as for a notification.

localized-haptics-patent-under-surface.jpg

In much the same way that Apple uses different alert sounds on macOS to indicate different notifications, spatially localized haptics may offer a variety of tactile feedback for notifications. In some instances, "multiple haptic outputs may be provided simultaneously" to produce a different sensation and "alert a user to multiple notifications."

While patent filings cannot be taken as firm evidence of what Apple is intending to implement in its future products, they can offer an insightful look at the areas in which the company is directing its research and development. Unlike some patent filings which outline outlandish and abstract technologies that are very unlikely to come to market any time soon, this patent seems well within the realms of possibility, given that the technology already exists in millions of MacBook devices.

Article Link: Apple Exploring Wider Use of Haptic Feedback on MacBooks
 
Last edited:

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
Just the other day I was wondering whether they'd get rid of it as they have with the iPhone and Apple Watch, plus the Magic Keyboard for iPad came with and old-fashioned regular trackpad.

I wonder why no interviewer who gets access to Apple execs (say like a John Gruber) has ever just asked point blank: So what was the deal with 3D Touch?
 

Rochy Bay

Suspended
Apr 5, 2016
271
118
Cupertino, CA


Apple is interested in expanding the use of haptic feedback on MacBook devices, according to a newly granted patent filing.

forcetouch.png

The patent, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Laptop computing device with discrete haptic regions" and explains how a MacBook could provide significantly expanded haptic feedback across multiple areas.

Since the 2015 MacBook, Apple has included the Force Touch trackpad on all of its new laptops, such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Beyond the ability to detect how much pressure is placed on the trackpad, the Force Touch trackpad also delivers haptic feedback.


force_touch_coils.jpg


The Taptic Engine currently used in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to deliver haptic feedback.​

On MacBooks, haptic feedback is used to give the impression of a physical click, when the trackpad is actually static. In addition, it can offer useful contextual information in conjunction with on-screen content. For example, when moving a shape in a document or spreadsheet, haptic feedback is used to allow users to feel when it is in alignment with a margin or another object.

While haptics have thus far been reserved for the trackpad only on MacBooks, Apple is now actively researching how it can expand haptic feedback to more areas of the device.

Beyond simply making the technology more widespread on devices, Apple suggests that the utility of haptic feedback can be advanced by providing it in different areas to indicate a wider range of information. For example, haptic feedback could be distinctively provided on the left, middle, and right of a MacBook, and the feedback is said to be "imperceptible outside that region." Apple calls this system "spatially localized haptics."

localized-haptics-patent-macbook-hands.jpg

Some spatially localized haptics may overlap, but each has its own individual haptic actuator. Apple suggests that these areas may also be capable of accepting touch input to trigger haptic feedback. Interestingly, the patent notes that "force sensors" may be used to detect pressure input, presumably like the current implementation under the Force Touch Trackpad.

localized-haptics-patent-macbook.jpg

The system involves haptics that are so widespread that "an input area may encompass part of an electronic device's housing and be large enough that a user may touch multiple portions of the input area simultaneously."

Apple's spatially localized haptics are also said to be much more distinctive than normal haptic feedback, allowing users to clearly "distinguish between haptic outputs" in different areas.

localized-haptics-patent-areas.jpg

In terms of practical uses, the patent suggests that this system of spatially localized haptics could be used in response to the force of a user typing on a keyboard, offering an additional confirmation that an actuation force was registered. Alternately, the localized haptics may provide distinctive tactile outputs from either side of the palm rest, such as for a notification.

localized-haptics-patent-under-surface.jpg

In much the same way that Apple uses different alert sounds on macOS to indicate different notifications, spatially localized haptics may offer a variety of tactile feedback for notifications. In some instances, "multiple haptic outputs may be provided simultaneously" to produce a different sensation and "alert a user to multiple notifications."

While patent filings cannot be taken as firm evidence of what Apple is intending to implement in its future products, they can offer an insightful look at the areas in which the company is directing its research and development. Unlike some patent filings which outline outlandish and abstract technologies that are very unlikely to come to market any time soon, this patent seems well within the realms of possibility, given that the technology already exists in millions of MacBook devices.

Article Link: Apple Exploring Wider Use of Haptic Feedback on MacBooks
When you can’t innovate anymore, you just use the same hardware and shift it around to sell a new series....
 

Rochy Bay

Suspended
Apr 5, 2016
271
118
Cupertino, CA


Apple is interested in expanding the use of haptic feedback on MacBook devices, according to a newly granted patent filing.

forcetouch.png

The patent, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and first spotted by Patently Apple, is titled "Laptop computing device with discrete haptic regions" and explains how a MacBook could provide significantly expanded haptic feedback across multiple areas.

Since the 2015 MacBook, Apple has included the Force Touch trackpad on all of its new laptops, such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Beyond the ability to detect how much pressure is placed on the trackpad, the Force Touch trackpad also delivers haptic feedback.


force_touch_coils.jpg


The Taptic Engine currently used in the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air to deliver haptic feedback.​

On MacBooks, haptic feedback is used to give the impression of a physical click, when the trackpad is actually static. In addition, it can offer useful contextual information in conjunction with on-screen content. For example, when moving a shape in a document or spreadsheet, haptic feedback is used to allow users to feel when it is in alignment with a margin or another object.

While haptics have thus far been reserved for the trackpad only on MacBooks, Apple is now actively researching how it can expand haptic feedback to more areas of the device.

Beyond simply making the technology more widespread on devices, Apple suggests that the utility of haptic feedback can be advanced by providing it in different areas to indicate a wider range of information. For example, haptic feedback could be distinctively provided on the left, middle, and right of a MacBook, and the feedback is said to be "imperceptible outside that region." Apple calls this system "spatially localized haptics."

localized-haptics-patent-macbook-hands.jpg

Some spatially localized haptics may overlap, but each has its own individual haptic actuator. Apple suggests that these areas may also be capable of accepting touch input to trigger haptic feedback. Interestingly, the patent notes that "force sensors" may be used to detect pressure input, presumably like the current implementation under the Force Touch Trackpad.

localized-haptics-patent-macbook.jpg

The system involves haptics that are so widespread that "an input area may encompass part of an electronic device's housing and be large enough that a user may touch multiple portions of the input area simultaneously."

Apple's spatially localized haptics are also said to be much more distinctive than normal haptic feedback, allowing users to clearly "distinguish between haptic outputs" in different areas.

localized-haptics-patent-areas.jpg

In terms of practical uses, the patent suggests that this system of spatially localized haptics could be used in response to the force of a user typing on a keyboard, offering an additional confirmation that an actuation force was registered. Alternately, the localized haptics may provide distinctive tactile outputs from either side of the palm rest, such as for a notification.

localized-haptics-patent-under-surface.jpg

In much the same way that Apple uses different alert sounds on macOS to indicate different notifications, spatially localized haptics may offer a variety of tactile feedback for notifications. In some instances, "multiple haptic outputs may be provided simultaneously" to produce a different sensation and "alert a user to multiple notifications."

While patent filings cannot be taken as firm evidence of what Apple is intending to implement in its future products, they can offer an insightful look at the areas in which the company is directing its research and development. Unlike some patent filings which outline outlandish and abstract technologies that are very unlikely to come to market any time soon, this patent seems well within the realms of possibility, given that the technology already exists in millions of MacBook devices.

Article Link: Apple Exploring Wider Use of Haptic Feedback on MacBooks
4 years later... apple removes haptic from all devices...
 

Mr.Blacky

macrumors 65816
Jul 31, 2016
1,105
1,373
Austria
Just the other day I was wondering whether they'd get rid of it as they have with the iPhone and Apple Watch, plus the Magic Keyboard for iPad came with and old-fashioned regular trackpad.

I wonder why no interviewer who gets access to Apple execs (say like a John Gruber) has ever just asked point blank: So what was the deal with 3D Touch?
Must have missed it. When exactly did Apple get rid of haptic feedback in the Apple Watch and iPhone? My iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 5 still has it. 🤔
 

mtnk

macrumors newbie
Mar 9, 2021
2
1
It could be used to implement a numeric programmable keypad that could be on either side
 

gaanee

macrumors 65816
Dec 8, 2011
1,414
224
Haptic on iPhone is useful because you are holding the device and feel the haptics feedback but on a laptop, you are not holding it all around to feel the haptics except for touching the palm rest area.
One application I could see is Apple replaces the physical keyboard on MacBook with a touch surface displaying the keyboard layout (dual screen device like Microsoft Surface Duo) and then you will notice the haptic feedback as you type on the touch surface.
 

Pow!

macrumors member
Oct 17, 2014
95
60
Toronto
First thought was “of course, when they replace the keyboard with a slab of glass they’ll need it”

But after seeing the pics it looks like a plan for a big Touchbar, those placements look like Logic FX plug-in controllers.
 

luvbug

macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2017
565
1,539
Getting closer every day!
It maybe useful, especially for someone with special needs (hearing impaired, for instance), but is it really worth the added complexity and cost for the average user?
 

xpxp2002

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2016
583
995
Still don't understand why they're looking at doing this, but there isn't a Taptic Engine under the Touch Bar. Being able to "feel" the haptics as you slide a scrubbing bar or press a virtual button on the Touch Bar would be very helpful to re-creating the physical feedback lost by going to virtual buttons and sliders.
 

chickenninja

macrumors 6502
Feb 13, 2008
349
18
inside my skull
They should make that thing really long to smooth the edges of it's vibration. Two of them the length of the device, could do some interesting stereo effects. Probably even be able to keep it from "walk" vibrating off a desk. or be used to create constructive wave patterns that deepen the tonal bandwidth of the vibration. Could make cool surround sound like experiences in mobile gaming.
 

MacFabulous

macrumors member
Aug 15, 2007
43
54
Copenhagen, Denmark
I look forward to such a Keyboard/Trackpad! Eventually to saying completely goodbye to the old school tactile keyboard. When they (AND THEY EVENTUALLY WILL) make the lower MacBook part all glass and flat, this kind of tech will be necessary and very useful! They’re MOST CERTAINLY not there YET... but when they refine this tech properly it will create a MUCH more versatile experience on that lower part. You will then have TWO fully working multi-touch screens that creates a HIGHLY improved versatile multitasking experience! You’ll be able to have many more interactive apps and windows open at a time. The keyboard itself will change into thousand different types of keyboards, depending on Apps and tasks you are engaged in. When that haptic feedback is truly indistinguishable from good old nowadays ordinary keyboards (and it will get there), this solution will be a no-brainer for future MacBooks and iPads. Yes, even for future iterations of the Magic Keyboard. And other non-proclaimed products. If Apple is still Apple, then they certainly will “skate to where the puck is going to be, and not to where it has been.” And the phrase “customers don't know what they want until we've shown them” , also comes to mind. I’m quite convinced that Apple will bring this kind of novel state of the art interactive technology to life. I think many old school “tactile keyboard enthusiast” will be surprised to see just how much such technology can resemble the tactile feedback of today’s keyboard. With nanotechnology rising to new heights, and new improvements in induction and micro electric waves, these kinds of solutions seems VERY feasible! It’s the future. Apple knows this.
 
Last edited:

apple404

macrumors newbie
Nov 16, 2020
4
2
I could see them making it so the entire bottom part is trackpad but you can specify the size of it, which would help with palm rejection. That would be cool.
 

reyesmac

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2002
608
256
Central Texas
What comes to mind is making your watch or phone buzz when it’s done charging on your palméese area of the MacBook. I also think it could be used for a keyboard that is really a screen. So you can feel keys move when you tap them. So they can make keys individual lcd screens.
 

MacBH928

macrumors 604
May 17, 2008
6,604
2,745
this tech is amazing, I still can't believe the SE button is solid. Who invented this deserve award of recognition.
 
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