haptic feedback

iPhone 15 Pro will not have actual, physical buttons. Really.


iPhone 15 Pro will not have actual, physical buttons. Really.
Apple might be about to give old-fashioned buttons the heave-ho.
Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly phasing out traditional buttons, starting with the iPhone 15 Pro models. The handsets will still seem to have them, but it’ll be a high-tech trick performed with haptic feedback.

The change should make the iOS devices more durable and waterproof.

iOS 16’s haptic keyboard is bloomin’ great: Here’s how to turn it on


Turn on the clicky keyboard
Get keyboard clicks on your iPhone with iOS 16.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Studies show that haptic feedback improves touchscreen typing speed and input accuracy, and at last Apple has added it to iOS 16.

Android phones years ago had haptic keyboards, but without a precision vibration motor, the haptic feedback was too slow to complete the illusion. With the Taptic Engine — hardware in every iPhone since the iPhone 6s that can simulate all kinds of haptic textures — Apple created a perfectly convincing effect to enable the haptic keyboard in iOS 16.

Leaving the keyboard click sounds on in public is a minor social faux pas, but you really do type better when you have some sort of feedback for hitting the keys. It feels incredible. I turned it on early this summer on the iOS 16 beta, and every time I held my wife’s phone on iOS 15, it felt broken. You can’t go back once you turn it on — it’s that great.

Read on to see where to enable it.

Apple’s AR/VR headset could use ultrasonic sound waves to simulate a breeze in mixed reality


Apple VR headset could look like Oculus Quest
Apple's first headset could be around the same size as Oculus Quest.
Photo: Oculus

Apple could use ultrasonic sound waves to deliver haptic feedback to wearers of its upcoming AR/VR headset when they interact with virtual objects.

Most consumer AR/VR headsets do not provide haptic feedback like that, but some high-end ones feature a basic vibration motor that does not give the desired effect. However, Apple’s new patent filings suggest it wants to solve this issue on its AR/VR headset by using ultrasonic sound waves.

Haptic feedback could make iPhone or iPad displays feel like rocks or fur


Haptic feedback could make iPhone displays feel like rocks or fur
Who needs boring old glass?
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Imagine being able to touch your iPad or iPhone screen and feeling like you’re touching metal, wood, or fur — despite the fact it’s just a flat glass display. Impossible, surely? Not if a new haptic feedback patent Apple has filed comes to pass.

This haptic feedback technology could complete the sensory AR experience Apple is aiming for. Slap on some AirPods and summon up some ARKit visuals, and you’d have truly immersive augmented reality.

Apple finds a way to revolutionize the haptic keyboard


on-screen haptic keyboard patent
An on-screen haptic keyboard proposal
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple invented an on-screen haptic keyboard with virtual keys that simulate movement, which should make typing a better experience.

A laptop’s hardware keyboard is great for text entry but is in the way when reading websites, watching movies, playing games, etc. That’s why Apple is exploring options for getting rid of the keyboard while maintaining the ease of typing offered by a physical keyboard.

The future of video chat is totally touchy-feely


Haptic feedback is a major component in this new technology invented at the University of Tokyo.
Photo: Shinoda Lab
Haptic feedback is a major component in this new technology invented at the University of Tokyo. Photo: Shinoda Lab

HaptoClone is a new creation from researchers in the Shinoda Lab at the University of Tokyo that can let you practically feel what isn’t actually in front of you. It at least gives you the illusion that you’re feeling it. The technology is trippy in theory, but in practice it very well may lead to a more personal level of communication through our smartphones and computers – or dare I say more intimate.

Apple invents texture-sensing stylus for future iPads


Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 14.35.16
This stylus would add new meaning to the word touchscreen.
Photo: USPTO/Apple

Steve Jobs was famously opposed to including a stylus with the iPad, but even he might have changed his mind had he caught a glimpse of the futuristic texture-sensing input device Apple just patented.

According to a pair of patent applications published today, Apple is working on stylus with in-built camera which would allow it to detect the surface over which it is passed and reproduce these textures for the user — even down to replicating the feel of different fabrics.

Apple patent hints at the amazing future of Force Touch


Apple Watch-style Force Touch is coming to both iPhone models this September.
Apple Watch's Force Touch tech could be about to get a whole lot better. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

The Force Touch technology seen in the Apple Watch and new MacBook is pretty great and all, but imagine being able to go further than the relatively simple haptic feedback Apple currently offers — by having your future Mac trackpad actually simulate different textures when you run your hand over it.

That’s the aim of a new patent application published today, which describes a new diamond-layered touch surface capable of using a variety of vibrations and temperatures to recreate a range of textures.

Easy hardware hack turns iPad into piano


Photo: Adam Kumpf
This simple hardware hack adds a piano-style keyboard made of clothespins to your iPad. Photo: Adam Kumpf

The iPad is great for making music, but the lack of physical keys can be a drag for keyboardists. That shortcoming prompted Adam Kumpf to hack together a miniature piano attachment for the tablet using nothing more than wooden clothespins, aluminum foil, a few pieces of stiff cardboard and some rubber bands

Total cost? Less than $5.

Despite his creation’s humble DIY origins, Kumpf thinks the idea of iPad add-ons has the potential to take touchscreens to the next level.

“There’s an innate desire that users have to go beyond what the screen can usually do,” the 31-year-old MIT graduate tells Cult of Mac. “I strongly believe that there’s a world of accessories relating to capacitive touchscreens that’s just waiting to be explored.”

Good vibrations: KOR-FX vest puts you into the game


The KOR-FX Vest modeled by an actress at the E3 booth. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
The KOR-FX Vest modeled by an actress at the E3 booth. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

LOS ANGELES — Drop this tactical-style vest onto your shoulders and fasten it high on your chest, and you’re suddenly feeling the action. Using audio-based haptic technology (the kind of rumbling vibrations that you’ll find in any video gaming controller), the KOR-FX turns the audio in the game into rumbles you can feel.

The makers of this new gaming peripheral have a few prototypes set up on the show floor at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles this week, and they’ll let all comers come and try a demo.

“Some people want to wear this thing lower on their chest, but up high is what stimulates the limbic system,” Seth Fandetti, CEO of Immerz (the makers of the KOR-FX) told us onsite at the expo. “It’s more than just feeling bullets hit you; it’s a whole immersive experience.”

Reprogrammable Magnetic Fluids Could Let You Feel The Keys On Your iPad’s Virtual Keyboard



One of the biggest criticisms of virtual keyboards on a touchscreen display is that they offers users no feedback, making them more difficult to type on than a traditional keyboard. Designers have attempted to provide solutions to this problem with third-party accessories that clip onto your display, but Apple may be working on its own solution using coded magnets and ferrofluids that could be built into future iPads.