Both Apple’s iPhone 5 and the latest fifth-generation iPod touch exhibit an unusual problem affecting how the devices handle touch input events. As noted by game developer CMA Megacorp, if you slide your finger back and forth across the display rapidly, input events drop out or stop altogether. Worse, the issue also affects scrolling and swipes and is exacerbated by scrolling diagonally. While many people never use rapid swiping motions to operate their device, games like Fruit Ninja rely on moving one’s finger across the touchscreen in a rapid succession…
CMA Megacorp was first to acknowledge the unusual behavior on Twitter.
iPhone 5 touch screen bug? Slide finger back and forth diagonally on screen, input events drop out or stop altogether.
— CMA Megacorp (@CMA_Megacorp) November 9, 2012
A video from Recombu seen at the top clearly suggests that the behaviour is only limited to latest iOS devices that rock a taller, four-inch display – meaning the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPod touch.
iMore editor Rene Ritchie concurs, additionally discovering that the problem appears to be independent of whether the devices have iOS 6 or 6.0.1 installed.
Sure enough, whilst both iPhone 4S’s handled the fast paced scrolling to aplomb, one iPhone 5 struggled to hold its concentration, dropping and picking back up touch input whilst the other stopped registering input altogether.
That Rene couldn’t reproduce the issue on an iPhone 4S or iPad 4 might suggest a hardware problem with Apple’s in-cell display assembly on the iPhone 5 and latest iPod touch.
On the other hand, it is extremely unlikely that such a hardware issue would pass unnoticed during the engineering verification phase. Besides, Apple is often praised for its sophisticated multitouch technology.
The speed of chips running software that interprets touch input events is also unlikely to be causing this behavior. Both devices feature refreshed internals, with noticeable speed gains across the board.
This leaves us with two other possibilities
First, it might be a good ol’ software bug easily fixable with a future firmware update.
Because the smaller iPad has really narrow side bezels, improvements have been added to the iOS multitouch technology to ignore false positive touch inputs due to your thumb now resting on the actual screen of the device instead of the bezel.
Therefore, this inability of the iPhone 5 and iPod touch to register rapid swipes correctly could be an unintended consequence of the iOS multitouch tech tweaks.
Of course, this is all purely speculative because Apple has not yet spoken on the matter.
We’d love to hear about your experience down in the comments.
Does your iPhone or fifth-gen iPod touch suffer from a slowdown in registering rapid touch input events?
Have you noticed any real-life problems with gameplay in titles like Fruit Ninja?
Finally, is this something that will negatively impact daily use for ordinary users?
Meet us in comments.