Report claims iPhone 6 will feature advanced haptic feedback technology

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Here’s one to file in the “exciting, but most likely not happening” category.

A new Chinese media report suggests that one of the iPhone 6’s “secret weapons” could be the inclusion of advanced haptic feedback technology. Sources claim that the tactile feedback linear motor would be capable of producing different types of subtle vibration depending on the app being used, and could even emit different vibrations depending on the part of the touch screen that is being pressed at the time, or how hard it is being pressed.

According to the source speaking to the report’s author, the haptic feedback motor being used would be 2 or 3 times more expensive, and more advanced, than any being used in current generation smartphones.

Back in 2013, a UK-based company debuted its fourth generation “Bulldog” haptic technology, capable of mimicking textures and raised button areas/scroll bars on a Gorilla Glass panel using haptic feedback. Disney Research has also investigated the possibilities of using advanced haptic feedback for large table-top tablet displays in its theme parks. Apple has a number of patents in this area, too, dating back at least as far as 2011.

The report doesn’t say whether Apple would be developing its own haptic feedback motors, or licensing technology from someone else.

While fourth generation haptics could certainly be the kind of revolutionary technology that could transform the smartphone or tablet experience, it seems unlikely that this is something Apple would spring on us for this September’s iPhone 6 — particularly since this is the first we’ve heard about it.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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