Apple explores the introduction of information by pressure
Apple has filed a patent application that was published on October 4th which reveals that since March 2006, they have been investigating the possibility of pressure-sensitive touch screens.
Apple describes that, historically, pressure-sensitive screens offer little advantage as a data input device. The “stickiness” created between the finger and the touch surface makes it difficult to operate smoothly.
Instead, resistive touch screens (Newton, Palm) and more recently capacitive screens (iPhone) have dominated the market. Neither of these touch screen technologies, however, measure the degree of pressure the user applies to the screen. By incorporating this pressure information into a capacitive + pressure hybrid display, Apple believes useful information could be generated to provide a better user experience.
This is not the first time that Apple has described the use of “pressure” information to aid in the collection of user information. A patent application published in March 2006 also describes the use of pressure and duration of pressure as variables that could change the action. An example used is that the user is presented with the option of a “Delete” button, in which the user would have to press harder for the delete button to recognize the action.