Apple's 'iPhone 7' again said to have pressure sensing haptic home button

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in iPhone
The Touch ID home button on this year's iPhone will not physically click, instead mimicking the sensation of a click with haptic feedback, just like Apple's Force Touch trackpad found on newer MacBooks, a new report reaffirms.




Citing people familiar with this year's iPhone upgrades, Bloomberg reported on Monday that the new pressure sensing home button will feature a "vibrating haptic sensation" to simulate the feeling of a click. The change will mean one less moving part on the device, allowing for thinner designs and also potentially avoiding reliability and durability issues.

The report reaffirms numerous earlier claims suggesting that the home button on this year's so-called "iPhone 7" will not click. It's also believed that the design change could aid in making this year's device more waterproof than ever.

An unmoving home button borrows a concept Apple established last year with the Force Touch trackpad found on the new 12-inch MacBook and latest MacBook Pros. Rather than physically clicking the trackpad simulates the feeling of a click with Apple's proprietary "Taptic" engine.

Beyond the home button, Monday's report reaffirmed many of the other expectations for this year's iPhone upgrades. In particular, it restated that the larger "iPhone 7 Plus" will feature a new dual-lens camera system that will result in superior pictures, and also allow users to zoom in photos while retaining image clarity.




Bloomberg said that each lens on the 5.5-inch iPhone will capture colors differently, then merge the two photos instantly to produce a single, high-quality picture. Photos in low-light environments are also said to be improved.

As expected, the smaller 4.7-inch model will retain a single-lens design, it was said.

Finally, the report also added to the expectation that this year's iPhones will remove the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, opting instead for Lightning- and Bluetooth-connected headphones. The report gave no indication whether Apple plans to include Lightning EarPods or new wireless earbuds in the box, but did say the elimination of the headphone jack will make room for a second speaker.

Other reports have suggested the new "iPhone 7" will feature a next-generation "A10" processor, and will start with a minimum of 32 gigabytes of storage. The design is expected to look largely the same as the current iPhone 6s series, though antenna lines on the back will be removed.

Apple is widely expected to unveil this year's iPhone lineup at a media event in September, with preorders rumored to begin on Sept. 9. If the company follows its usual release pattern, the new handsets will be available to consumers just a few weeks after they are unveiled.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Re: "The change will mean one less moving part on the device..."

    This may not be exactly true, since the vibrational engine will probably be a new moving part... separate from the Taptic Engine that makes the whole phone vibrate.  Or... will a single Taptic Engine handle both functions (Touch ID vibration + full phone vibration)?
  • Reply 2 of 17
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Re: "The change will mean one less moving part on the device..."

    This may not be exactly true, since the vibrational engine will probably be a new moving part... separate from the Taptic Engine that makes the whole phone vibrate.  Or... will a single Taptic Engine handle both functions (Touch ID vibration + full phone vibration)?
    Not sure they mean physical moving parts on the inside of the phone, but those on the outside that could cause potential breakdowns for repairs, or, more importantly, dust, water, etc.  If true, this seems like it would be a step in the "waterproofing" direction.
    slprescottschlackmac fan
  • Reply 3 of 17
    hittrj01 said:
    Re: "The change will mean one less moving part on the device..."

    This may not be exactly true, since the vibrational engine will probably be a new moving part... separate from the Taptic Engine that makes the whole phone vibrate.  Or... will a single Taptic Engine handle both functions (Touch ID vibration + full phone vibration)?
    Not sure they mean physical moving parts on the inside of the phone, but those on the outside that could cause potential breakdowns for repairs, or, more importantly, dust, water, etc.  If true, this seems like it would be a step in the "waterproofing" direction.
    Yes, I agree with everything you said.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    I would love the better camera, but there are two other things I would need:
     - A way to charge the phone as well as listen to audio wired (wireless charging would be great!)
     - Waterproofing (or at least water resistance).

    What are the odds Apple will address those two areas? 
  • Reply 5 of 17
    hittrj01 said:
    Not sure they mean physical moving parts on the inside of the phone, but those on the outside that could cause potential breakdowns for repairs, or, more importantly, dust, water, etc.  If true, this seems like it would be a step in the "waterproofing" direction.
    Yes, I agree with everything you said.
    Still 4 buttons to go. Silent mode on-off toggle, sound up and down, and the sleep-wake button. Wonder how Apple will handle those.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,992member
    Radically improved low-light photography would be a nice improvement. Here's to hoping. 
  • Reply 7 of 17
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,030moderator
    Re: "The change will mean one less moving part on the device..."

    This may not be exactly true, since the vibrational engine will probably be a new moving part... separate from the Taptic Engine that makes the whole phone vibrate.  Or... will a single Taptic Engine handle both functions (Touch ID vibration + full phone vibration)?
    If you've used the Apple Watch, the first time you Force Touch and get the feedback you realize the superb illusion of it.  You can press anywhere on the screen, even up in a corner, and it feels as though that part of the screen depresses under your finger.  And that's simply because it's your finger that feels the feedback and so associates the feedback with where your finger is positioned.

    Same thing with a force touch Home button.  The feedback will be tuned to provide your finger, or thumb, a sensation equivalent to what we're all used to with a Home button depress, and since your finger will be located on the synthetic Home button, you'll get the sensation there, no matter where in the handset the Taptic Engine is located.  I imagine when this capability comes to the iPad there might be a separate Taptic element proximate to the Home button, to prevent the Home button sensation being felt by your other hand that may be holding the iPad, with thumb on the opposite bezel.  But for the iPhone, I'm guessing a single Taptic Engine will suffice to provide all haptic feedback.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 8 of 17
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 262member
    tailstoo said:
    I would love the better camera, but there are two other things I would need:
     - A way to charge the phone as well as listen to audio wired (wireless charging would be great!)
     - Waterproofing (or at least water resistance).

    What are the odds Apple will address those two areas? 
    You're a little late to the "I need to charge my phone and listen to wired audio" pity party. 

    At this point no one knows if Apple will include lightning EarPods or Bluetooth. Your last question is a definite yes response. This new iPhone has been in development for probably over 18 months. Apple will address all areas that you brought up. They're pretty smart guys. 
    radarthekatnolamacguy
  • Reply 9 of 17
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Yes, I agree with everything you said.
    Still 4 buttons to go. Silent mode on-off toggle, sound up and down, and the sleep-wake button. Wonder how Apple will handle those.
    they dont need to -- you can build buttons that work through a water sealed layer.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Yes, I agree with everything you said.
    Still 4 buttons to go. Silent mode on-off toggle, sound up and down, and the sleep-wake button. Wonder how Apple will handle those.
    Pressure sensitive (force touch) curved glass on the sides?
  • Reply 11 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,561member
    Re: "The change will mean one less moving part on the device..."

    This may not be exactly true, since the vibrational engine will probably be a new moving part... separate from the Taptic Engine that makes the whole phone vibrate.  Or... will a single Taptic Engine handle both functions (Touch ID vibration + full phone vibration)?
    If you've used the Apple Watch, the first time you Force Touch and get the feedback you realize the superb illusion of it.  You can press anywhere on the screen, even up in a corner, and it feels as though that part of the screen depresses under your finger.  And that's simply because it's your finger that feels the feedback and so associates the feedback with where your finger is positioned.



    The best explanation of this mind trick I've read so far. In a few years, Apple will replace the keyboard with a completely flat haptic screen. They've been training the user base for years. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Rayz2016 said:
    If you've used the Apple Watch, the first time you Force Touch and get the feedback you realize the superb illusion of it.  You can press anywhere on the screen, even up in a corner, and it feels as though that part of the screen depresses under your finger.  And that's simply because it's your finger that feels the feedback and so associates the feedback with where your finger is positioned.



    The best explanation of this mind trick I've read so far. In a few years, Apple will replace the keyboard with a completely flat haptic screen. They've been training the user base for years. 
    That's very interesting. Earlier after reading this article I wondered if soon we might start to see the haptic engine being used even more widely, specifically as one touches around a screen such that you might get some feedback when your finger enters a "button area" (on the screen or trackpad might be more likely) so that you would know that it can be pressed, or other areas on the screen that have interaction - could the engine be used for this? The keyboard you suggest as possible is just that, but more complex, though totally possible? Very, very interesting.
    edited August 2016 Rayz2016
  • Reply 13 of 17
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,000member
    Radically improved low-light photography would be a nice improvement. Here's to hoping. 

    As I mentioned in separate thread, Apple bought a camera technology company called LinX Imaging, which specializes in "multi-aperture imaging technology" for DSLR-quality images. LinX's technology sets new standards for image quality parameters such as low light performance, HDR, refocusing, color fidelity, shutter lag and more. The only reason Apple could use this technology is by using multiple lens which has been rumored for ages,

    You can see a 2014 presentation that shows the benefits of LinX's multi-lens technology here:

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/261875793/LinX-Imaging-Presentation


    camera architecture and algorithms leverage the multiple channels to boost the sensitivity of the camera which allows us to capture stunning images at very low light levels and keep exposure times short at normal indoor light levels and by that to avoid smearing.



    edited August 2016
  • Reply 14 of 17
    anomeanome Posts: 1,264member
    Rayz2016 said:

    The best explanation of this mind trick I've read so far. In a few years, Apple will replace the keyboard with a completely flat haptic screen. They've been training the user base for years. 
    That's very interesting. Earlier after reading this article I wondered if soon we might start to see the haptic engine being used even more widely, specifically as one touches around a screen such that you might get some feedback when your finger enters a "button area" (on the screen or trackpad might be more likely) so that you would know that it can be pressed, or other areas on the screen that have interaction - could the engine be used for this? The keyboard you suggest as possible is just that, but more complex, though totally possible? Very, very interesting.


    The true value of doing that, as far as I can tell, is to create the truly configurable control surface everyone wants. You're no longer consigned to being able to reassign keys to functions, but can now change the shape, size, and style of controllers. Keyboard for typing, sliders for video or sound controls, pads and buttons for gaming, piano for playing music. There was a patent Apple lodged a few years ago that covers this kind of multifunction input device, and maybe the tech is finally ready.

    There are two problems, however. First of all, proper typists (or pianists, or whatever) are able to use the physical shape of the keys/buttons/etc to work without looking down at their hands. Perhaps this could be overcome by adapting the haptic feedback so that sliding your finger lightly gives the illusion of raised keys, and the edges of objects (I've been thinking this is where they're going with the home button on the iPhone for some time, although going over the recent reports on that, they may actually be going in a slightly different direction).

    The second problem, which is slightly bigger, is the travel of the keys. So far, the Force Touch haptic feedback has only had to emulate a mouse click. Key travel on keyboards is a bit more than that. Apple have been trying to train people to work with less key travel, with the Chiclet keyboard, and now the Butterfly switches in the MacBook, but it's something a lot of people aren't especially happy with. (I really don't mind it, myself, but I keep hearing it from tech journalists on podcasts.) Presumably faking travel is a matter of how long the vibration is, but is there a limit after which it ceases to trick you into thinking it's moving up and down?

    Ideally, I suppose, you'd create the control surface out of some variable geometry substance that would allow you to raise and lower bits of it as necessary.

    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 17
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,000member
    I still think that design wise this is Apple making path the way to full screen. Gone will be both the chins and physical touch button, replaced by glass. Eventually they will probably add taptic engine for the whole surface, making all the parts a truly 3D interaction by adding haptic feedback to any objects on the screen, not just force touch. Anyway, it is just a wishful thinking at this point, nobody really knows what's going on inside Apple lab.
    badmonk
  • Reply 16 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,561member
    anome said:
    That's very interesting. Earlier after reading this article I wondered if soon we might start to see the haptic engine being used even more widely, specifically as one touches around a screen such that you might get some feedback when your finger enters a "button area" (on the screen or trackpad might be more likely) so that you would know that it can be pressed, or other areas on the screen that have interaction - could the engine be used for this? The keyboard you suggest as possible is just that, but more complex, though totally possible? Very, very interesting.


    The true value of doing that, as far as I can tell, is to create the truly configurable control surface everyone wants. You're no longer consigned to being able to reassign keys to functions, but can now change the shape, size, and style of controllers. Keyboard for typing, sliders for video or sound controls, pads and buttons for gaming, piano for playing music. There was a patent Apple lodged a few years ago that covers this kind of multifunction input device, and maybe the tech is finally ready.


    Absolutely, and think about it from Apple's point of view. They can save a stack of cash if they don't have to produce a separate keyboard for each region. Do you want a numeric keypad on your Mac? Then you can have one if you don't mind the other keys being smaller. Oh, you want the keypad on your left? We can do that too. A Forward Delete key? Yeah, why not? (We don't need that eject button after all).

    There are two problems, however. First of all, proper typists (or pianists, or whatever) are able to use the physical shape of the keys/buttons/etc to work without looking down at their hands. Perhaps this could be overcome by adapting the haptic feedback so that sliding your finger lightly gives the illusion of raised keys, and the edges of objects (I've been thinking this is where they're going with the home button on the iPhone for some time, although going over the recent reports on that, they may actually be going in a slightly different direction).



    Very true. As a touch typist, I think the curve of the keys is very important. And how will the handle the raised nubs on the 'f' and the 'j' keys? Perhaps a quick double vibration when your fingers land on them? Dunno. We know that Apple has been doing a lot of work with shaping haptic feedback, so perhaps we'll see in a few years. 


    The second problem, which is slightly bigger, is the travel of the keys. So far, the Force Touch haptic feedback has only had to emulate a mouse click. Key travel on keyboards is a bit more than that. Apple have been trying to train people to work with less key travel, with the Chiclet keyboard, and now the Butterfly switches in the MacBook, but it's something a lot of people aren't especially happy with. (I really don't mind it, myself, but I keep hearing it from tech journalists on podcasts.) Presumably faking travel is a matter of how long the vibration is, but is there a limit after which it ceases to trick you into thinking it's moving up and down?

    Ideally, I suppose, you'd create the control surface out of some variable geometry substance that would allow you to raise and lower bits of it as necessary.


    Hence the training. I've been using an Apple keyboard for a while now, and for the first two weeks it was hideous. The problem was that I was hitting the keys in much the same way as I hit the keys on a regular keyboard. If you do that on an Apple keyboard then it's rather like stabbing your fingers against the desk underneath. The second problem was the size of the keyboard. 

    It was too big.

    Yup, that's right. Contrary to popular belief, the Apple keyboard is much larger than a standard keyboard; it only looks smaller because Apple has taken away all excess body around the keys. But if you lay the keyboard across the top of another keyboard, you'll see what I mean. So I had to adjust my typing because the keys are further apart. I also had to train myself not to hit the keys so hard; they only need a very light touch. I stuck with it and I now prefer it to my faithful old Microsoft keyboard. The Apple keyboard is almost flat, so I can rest my hands flat against the desk with my fingers on the keys. There is no excess body on the keyboard so I can position closer to the monitor and have my forearms supported by the desk as well. Now that I'm used to them, the keys are larger and easier to hit.

    It's not perfect though; the return key is too small and the up/down cursor keys are a joke.

    That was a digression, my apologies. 

    But you are right, there is only so much you can do with haptic feedback; they can simulate some of the travel, but I'll be surprised if they can get it to the level of the butterfly keyboard switches. Still, I think this is where they're heading.
    edited August 2016 williamlondonbadmonkanome
  • Reply 17 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,799member
    Not sure how I feel about buttons being made more dependent on software. The home button provides a crucial system function in that it's one half of the reset switch, but if the system software has locked up then that reset switch might not work.  Obviously there's always going to be some software dependency, but this seems like it going the route of more rather than less. 

    Power and reset triggers should be more hardware with as little software involved as possible in my onion.
    mac fan
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