Rumour has it that Immersion CEO Clent Richardson's first major sale is to his old buddies at Apple.
According to a report over at CNet
citing “an anonymous Apple employee
”, everyone's favourite fashion accessory cum communicator is due to get haptic feedback technology courtesy of specialists Immersion
As it stands, the iPhone is equipped with a simple vibrator – no sniggering in the back row, thank you very much – which it uses to signal an incoming call or a triggered alarm. So far, so like every other mobile phone since the nineties.
The rumour, as it stands, is that Apple are hoping to improve the usability of its on-screen keyboard – which owners seem to find the worst part of the whole iPhone 'experience' – by introducing feedback when a button is pressed. Basically, you click a key on the touchscreen and actually feel something 'click' via the vibration function.
It's something that Immersion has a certain amount of expertise in doing – the company has already released the VibeTonz
– yes, that's honestly what they called it – software which has been deployed in upwards of ten million mobile phones. Presumably it's this tech that Apple are looking to buy in.
It's not inconceivable that Apple would want to get the expertise to do such a thing from someone who has already been there – especially when you take into account that Immersion's current CEO, Clent Richardson, spent five years working at Apple prior to his move.
While haptic feedback wouldn't suddenly make critics of the iPhone change their tune, it would demonstrate Apple's willingness to improve a product that even its most stalwart fans admit has certain drawbacks.
Now let's just keep our fingers crossed for a sensibly-priced 3G model, hey?
Any iPhone owners here hoping that haptic feedback will be the saviour of the on-screen keyboard, or have you all got used to it as it is? Share your thoughts over in the forums