A Brief History of Apple’s Haptics

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today, I am going to discuss the History of Apple’s Haptics From the Apple Watch to the MacBook Pro.

What are haptics?

Haptic Touch
is a 3D Touch-like feature that Apple first introduced in the 2018 iPhone XR and later expanded to its entire ‌iPhone‌ lineup.

Haptic Touch uses the Taptic Engine and provides haptic feedback when you press on a display of one of Apple’s new iPhones. A Haptic Touch is a touch and hold gesture, and it can be used across a wide range of Apple Devices.

Haptic Touch
can be used by pressing in a relevant location until a little haptic pop is felt against the finger and a secondary menu appears, with content varying based on where you’re using the feature. A simple tap will activate one of the options on the secondary menu that appears.

Currently, Apple is The leading company when it comes to haptic feedback, but that wasn’t always the case.
Before 2014, Apple had not dived into haptics much, besides the ringtone vibrations in the iPhone.

Then, in late 2014, The Cupertino based company introduced the Apple Watch, which featured an Apple-designed Taptic Engine, with the ability to produce a tap-like sensation on your wrist.
The Taptic Engine was triggered when you received a notification or a phone call, and it also added physical feedback to certain actions on the watch.
With the Taptic Engine, the hardware and software of Apple Watch felt inseparable.

In early 2015, Apple released a MacBook with a lot of new features. Some of the best features included the Force Touch Trackpad.
This trackpad was entirely different from previous trackpads, in that it didn’t physically move. Instead, it used force sensors and a Taptic Engine to simulate a click, and “trick” your finger into thinking that the trackpad actually moved.
The effect is absolutely realistic, and if you haven’t tried a Force Touch Trackpad, I suggest trying one at the Apple Store to experience for yourself.

after the success of the Taptic Engine in the Apple Watch and the MacBook, used it in the iPhone 6s in the fall of 2015.
In the iPhone, the Taptic Engine didn’t play quite as huge a role as on the Watch, but it still performed one similar function, augmenting digital interactions with physical feedback.
In this regard, those digital interactions were delivered in the form of 3D Touch.
New to the iPhone 6s, 3D Touch measured the pressure of your finger on the screen, and offered contextual actions based on what you pressed on.
The Taptic Engine fired when you used 3D Touch to press on something, and it added a physical layer to the digital interaction. Haptic feedback played a vital role in 3D Touch.
In later iPhones the Taptic Engine played a more significant role. System toggles, animations, and picker wheels are all elements with haptic feedback.
today, the Taptic Engine is used in an array of devices, playing a significant role in the user interface.
While I would love to see the Taptic Engine come to iPad somehow, I’m satisfied with the feedback it offers on the iPhone, Apple Watch, and Mac today.

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GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
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