We are extremely skeptical about this one, but we are reposting it for the sake of discussion. According to Pocket-lint sources, Apple’s iPad 3 will include a new advanced tactile feedback technology that could add a completely new sensory input to the tablet. Unlike traditional haptic feedback that creates the sensation of physical touch with a small electrical stimulus (creating pulses that push against the finger), Apple’s solution allegedly puts an electrical pulse behind every pixel.

In theory, this would effectively create a 2048-by-1536 Retina display with so-called “textured feedback.” That is, it would add “texture” to objects on the screen when touched. Possible applications of this technology could be numerous and especially handy for both seeing and hearing issues. In addition, games would gain a whole new dimension if programmers could control screen pulses with a pixel-level accuracy and provide sensory perception of textures by varying friction between the screen and the user’s finger.

According to the article, Apple has been in talks with a Finnish startup called Senseg, the creators of advanced haptic display technology called E-Sense, depicted in the below clip. Now, when asked whether Apple licensed its technology, a company spokesperson told the publication “We won’t be making any statements until after Apple’s announcement.”

Similarly, Senseg’s technical marketing manager Petri Jekonen provided a similar answer to The Guardian newspaper yesterday:

That would be for Apple to say. My comment is no comment.

Furthermore, Senseg Senior Vice President Ville Mäkinen told Trusted Reviews that his company is “currently working with a certain tablet maker based in Cupertino.” The publication explains that the aim of Senseg’s technology is to “make a corrugated surface feel corrugated, a rough surface rough, a soft surface soft.”

On the other hand, Senseg CEO said less than four months ago that his company’s technology won’t be available for prime time for 1 to 2 years. “We’re certainly optimistic that we’ll have something in the next year. That might extend to 24 months,” he said in the below clip. The new iPad’s hardware design was likely finalized four months ago when Senseg’s CEO made those comments.

What is so special about Senseg’s technology, you ask? Read on…


According to the Senseg website:

With Senseg, touch screens come alive with textures, contours and edges that users can feel. Using Senseg technology, makers of tablet computers, smart phones, and any touch interface device can deliver revolutionary user experiences with high fidelity tactile sensations. Your customers will Feel the Difference with Senseg. Unlike effects created by mechanical vibration and piezo solutions, Senseg is silent. Moreover, with Senseg application developers have precise control of the location and type of effect users experience. What’s more, Senseg technology scales from touch pads, smart phones and tablets to the largest touch screens without increasing manufacturing complexity.

We also know from Apple’s patent filings that the company has researched advanced forms of tactile feedback for use in mobile devices. According to this patent filing, Apple’s solution calls for a “grid of piezoelectric actuators that can be activated on command.” By fluctuating the frequency of these actuators, the user will get a sense of different surfaces as their finger moves across it. For example, a virtual click wheel displayed on such a screen could vibrate at a different frequency as you move your finger across the center. Moreover, a newer patent filing takes this one step further by describing smart haptic tech that might tap the accelerometer sensor to precisely control levels of sensory feedback.

Finally, Apple’s invitation for the iPad 3 event says, “We have something you really have to see. And touch.” Now, Apple Kremlinologists know the company does not just word its press invitations to sound cool, always incorporating cryptic leads about important new features. For example, invitation graphics for the last year’s iPhone 4S introduction is adorned with the “Let’s talk iPhone” tagline—a subtle hint to the Siri voice-activated digital assistant billed as one of the key selling points of the device.

Eagle-eyed pundits were quick to note that the “touch” part in the “We have something you really have to see. And touch” tagline of the iPad 3 invitation signifies that one of the defining enhancements of the new iPad will be something related to touch input. The mystery will reveal in a few hours when Apple unveils its next-generation iPad at a media event in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

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