Haptic feedback: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

An interesting Apple patent hit the web on Thursday called “Touch-based User Interface with Haptic Feedback.” This patent details the use of  actuators and sensors on an iOS device’s screen that would allow a user to basically feel buttons and other controls. What sets this system apart from other haptic feedback methods is the fact that this would result in a localized vibration, so you’d only feel it where you touch the screen.

In theory, this sounds like a cool solution for people looking for the best of a buttoned device and an all-touch device. However, I’m not sure how well this would work in practice.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an iOS device with haptic feedback. The day before the new iPad was announced, a story came out suggesting that Apple was working with a new company called Senseg to implement a haptic feedback method that would allow users to feel different textures on screen. And, again, it sounds kind of cool, but I feel as though it would get incredibly annoying very fast.

I’ve never encountered a device with haptic feedback – whether it’s via vibration, or even Blackberry’s SurePress technology – that I’ve liked. What’s more, with 3 million people clamoring to get their hands on the haptic-free new iPad, I’m not sure messing with such a successful system is worth it.

I could see something like this being successful when the first iPhone, or even the first iPad, came out. People were still unsure of how easy button-less device would be to use. But now with many people quite adept, and even preferring the smooth glass over physical button, it just doesn’t make sense. To me, this sounds like a step backwards. It’s all about swipes and gestures now.

Do you guys agree, or would you like to have an iPad that – for lack of a better word – clicks when you tap the keyboard? Let me know in the comments section below or on twitter!



Tags: , , , , , , , , ,