Apple researching new haptic feedback technology

Just hours before Apple unveiled its third-generation iPad this year, a report came out suggesting that the tablet could feature some sort of new haptic “touch-feedback” display.

Obviously, the story never materialized. But as it turns out, Apple is looking into it. The company has had over 4 patents published this year on haptics, including this one…

PatentlyApple points to a newly published invention from Apple regarding a “linear vibrator providing localized haptic feedback.” Here’s an excerpt from the description:

“Further, the vibrator may be configured to be activated when a user touches a particular portion of a touch-sensitive screen of the mobile phone. When the user’s touch or near-touch is sensed in the appropriate area of the screen, the vibrator may be activated in a boosted mode, thereby providing localized haptic feedback directly under the area in which the touch was sensed. In this manner, the localized haptic feedback may serve to confirm the touch to the user, for example by emulating the feeling of pressing a button.”

This particular patent application, #20120223824, was originally filed in the first quarter of this year, with Fletcher Rothkopf named as the inventor, and was published Thursday.

There’s obviously a million ways Apple could implement this kind of technology into its mobile devices. But the question is: should it? Is there a need for haptic in touch screens?

I think if it’s done right, it could make a positive impact — especially in gameplay.

What do you think?