(if the link above doesn't work for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X-9-57qG9Y )
So, as you can see, this technology is real, and not even in some beta stage anymore but really working in a tablet and, as the Senseg guy said, to be released in consumer products within the next 12 months. That was in November 2011.
My guess is that the line "...And touch" and the finger in the photo of the iPad-event-invitation are referring to this very technology. And if you think about it, this really makes sense:
Why would Apple show the retina display (and lack of home button (if the iPad isn't held upside down)) in the invitation, if there isn't something more important to be revealed.
Well, if you ask me, we get to feel what we are touching on the iPad.
For example in Garageband, you could really feel the instruments, feel the friction of knobs and sliders.
In a painting software you would feel the paint, when writing stuff you would feel the keys of the keyboard. In games you would get a sense where the buttons and sticks (circlepads) are without having to look. In iBooks you would really get the sensation of turning paper pages. In combination with AppleTV you'd have the perfect gaming controller (and mic for Siri) because you could feel the buttons displayed on the iPad and so on. You get the point.
This kind of technology makes the experience so much more immersive and graspable. It's the missing link between touch displays and the user.
Maybe it doesn't come with the iPad 3, but it will for sure be implemented in every touch device of the future.
Even Apple itself knows that. They are holding a patent on such technology since April 2009 (!):
This means they are at least investigating on this for the last 3 years, probably a little longer. Here are some quotes from the Patent:
So now we know that Apple is obviously interested in haptic feedback. And since the patent is 3 years old, it should be mature enough by now.
Also interesting to note is that a technology similar to Senseg's is developed by Disney (yes the Disney where Steve Jobs was a member of the board of directors!)
So tell me, why wouldn't Apple implement it? Battery drainage? Well, remember, the electro static field is only generated around the spot where the fingers touch, and only when they touch. So this shouldn't be a problem.
Cost maybe? I think Apple has the production quantities for reducing that to a minimum.
And the Senseg guy himself said, we would see the technology implemented in consumer products within the next 12 months.
And why oh why the mysterious "And touch" comment. Why do we really have to touch it? And why the finger in the photo?