Published today by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Apple’s latest patent, originally filed in Q2 2019, reveals their plan to bring Force Touch to the Touch Bar.
Apple’s Pro-prietary Screen-Based Interface
The Touch Bar, for those unaware, was introduced with Apple’s fourth-generation MacBook Pro lineup in late 2016.
The thin, compact OLED strip sits above the normal keyboard keys, acting as the escape button, brightness and volume control, and more. It also features a neatly embedded power button that doubles as a Touch ID sensor.
The Touch Bar is quite a niche, and some would call it a gimmick, but there are tons of features that people have found incredibly useful since Apple started adopting the technology.
Learning the Way of the Force
Revealed in a patent published this morning, Apple is looking to enable additional Touch Bar features by integrating Force Touch.
Force Touch, Apple’s own proprietary pressure sensitivity technology, is nothing new. Debuting on the Apple Watch in September 2014, Force Touch effectively adds another avenue by which devices can register user inputs.
Distributing force sensors above and below the display layer, the pressure applied to the surface will determine the executed action.
Force Touch should open up many previously closed doors for the Touch Bar, and more software will be able to add functionality with pressure-sensitive actions.
Simultaneously, features like this affect the bill of materials, and a higher premium should accompany the recycled feature.
It’s worthwhile to note that Apple recently eliminated Force Touch from its wrist-worn wearable.
With the update to watchOS 7, which went live just over two months ago, Apple removed support for the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2, as well as Force Touch.
It is yet to be determined when or if Force Touch will be added to the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.
However, with the exciting developments brought about by Apple’s new M-series processors, there are tons of opportunities to optimize Force Touch for the latest Mac platforms.
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