iPad 3 to Include Haptic Display Technology to Provide On-Screen Textures?

A series of last-minute rumors and speculation are suggesting that the iPad 3 might include haptic technology that would give on-screen objects texture. The rumors have linked Finnish company Senseg with Apple and have been fueled by Apple's media event invitations carrying the tagline "We have something you really have to see. And touch."

senseg haptic banner
While speculation about Senseg and Apple has been floating under the radar for some time and a rationale for it was posted in our forums last week, The Guardian was the first major source to put forward the specific claim yesterday, noting that conversations with Senseg executives earlier this year left The Guardian with the impression that the company was indeed working with Apple.

When the Guardian met Senseg's chiefs in their Helsinki offices in January, its directors declined to say whether they had spoken to Apple about the use of the technology in the iPad – but said they were talking to tablet manufacturers. [...]

But asked this week whether Apple is a customer for the E-Sense technology, Petri Jehkonen, Senseg's technical marketing manager, declined to comment. Asked whether Apple is not a customer, he replied: "That would be for Apple to say. My comment is no comment."

The Next Web has also put together a speculative piece suggesting that haptic feedback could indeed be making an appearance on the iPad 3.

The bits and pieces that I’ve managed to uncover are tantalizing and have led me to believe that at least one major new feature that we have not seen before on an Apple device before will make an appearance on the new tablet.

I’ll be honest up front: I have been unable to nail down exactly what it is. [...]

The most tantalizing and attractive possibility I could come up with was the introduction of a touch-feedback technology for the iPad’s display.

The report continues with a reasoned analysis of how Apple may have been able to quietly include the technology in the iPad 3 and the unobtrusive nature of the haptic technology itself that could have been kept behind the scenes.

And now Pocket-lint is weighing in with its own claims, once again pointing to quotes from Senseg executives as hints that the company may be working with Apple.

"We won't be making any statements until after Apple's announcement," a company spokesman told Pocket-lint with a timing that's just too obvious to be anything else after we asked them the direct question of whether Senseg is involved in the iPad 3 launch.

The report also links back to a Trusted Reviews report from June 2011 in which Senseg claimed it was working with "a certain tablet maker based in Cupertino."

Apple has certainly expressed interest in haptic technology in the past, as evidenced by patent applications on the company's ideas. But specific rumors about incorporating the technology into iOS devices have been essentially non-existent until now. With just a few hours to go until Apple's media event, observers don't have long to wait to find out if the last-minute claims are true.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Caution)
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Top Rated Comments

Broojo02 Avatar
162 months ago
A quad core processor, retina display and haptic feedback seem like a little too much for a product upgrade :P
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icerailson Avatar
162 months ago
Credits of this scoop goes to our own forum's Zweimeter who posted a thread about it, and allegedly tipped of all apple news sites, last week
https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1332489
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ckorhonen Avatar
162 months ago
That would be awesome, but I just can't imagine how this would work with a rigid glass screen, and I don't think Apple would use a plastic screen just for this.

With Senseg's technology there are no moving parts - haptic feedback is not provided through vibrator motors.

Instead, an electrostatic field is used to mimic the sensation of interacting with different materials - I've seen a few demos and it really is magical.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Moonjumper Avatar
162 months ago
Virtual controls becoming less virtual? That would be a big step forward for iOS gaming.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3N16MA Avatar
162 months ago
Well Apple did invite the press to see and touch the next iPad. See the retina display and touch the screen for haptic feedback. We will find out soon.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ECUpirate44 Avatar
162 months ago
It would be cool, but I doubt it.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)