Apple has received a patent for a touch-sensitive button with two levels. Apple may be building devices that can perform several different functions based on how hard the user pushes down on their screens. Here is the abstract of the patent:
“A touch-sensitive depressible button with multiple depression thresholds is provided. When the button is depressed to a first depression threshold, the touch sensor can be switched from a low-power, non-sensing state to a sensing state. When the button is depressed to a second depression threshold, the touch sensor can sense the touch context and input can be generated based on the depression and the touch context. In this way, the touch-sensitive depressible button with multiple depression thresholds can facilitate timely switching of the touch sensor to a sensing state.”
In the drawings of the patent, Apple showed how this technology could be applied to a mobile telephone (the iPhone), a media player (an iPod), and a personal computer (MacBook).
What could this patent be used for? Perhaps in a MacBook, the first low-pressure push could be used for a single click and the higher-pressure push could be used as a double click.
This patent was filed in 2011. The patent authors are Louis W. Bokma, Joseph R. Fisher, Jr., and Saket Vora.