Today, the USPTO has granted Apple a patent for Tactile feedback in an electronic device – (US 8,373,549).
[quote] An electronic device for providing tactile feedback is provided. The electronic device may provide tactile feedback using any suitable approach, including for example vibration, heat, electrical, visual, or any other type of feedback. The electronic device may provide tactile feedback in response to detecting any particular status of the electronic device, receiving any particular input, or detecting any suitable communication received by the electronic device. For example, the electronic device may provide tactile feedback in response to receiving a particular user input, or to detecting a user’s finger on a particular portion of the electronic device.[/quote]
According to the patent background, Apple anticipates that because portable devices generally have small displays, some users e.g those with poor vision or users in a dark environment may find a tactile feedback mechanism useful. The company went on to suggest that, “the electronic device may simultaneously provide different types of tactile feedback, visual feedback, audio feedback, olfactory feedback, or any other suitable combination of feedback. ”
Some of the scenarios in which tactile feedback will be provided include: