Apple has shown interest in OLED display technology and haptic feedback in the past, and Apple continues to show interest in the technologies, according to PatentlyApple.
Flexible OLED with haptic feedback
Apple already has a large war chest of OLED patents, even though the company has never used the technology in an actual product. Apple has even explored 3D and transparent OLEDs, and just before the launch of the iPad 3, it was reported that Apple could use haptic/tactile technology in the device.
Apple’s haptic OLED concept can create real 3D feedback on a screen, picture credit: PatentlyApple
A new patent, discovered by PatentlyApple, describes a concept where a flexible OLED screen and haptic feedback combine in a device, enabling the display to produce actual “buttons” on the screen surface.
Apple’s idea is that an underlying layer can push up on the screen from below to create real 3D buttons in real time. The principle of changing screens with feedback is often referred to as tactile or haptic, and has been demonstrated in this video. The concept would obviously require a flexible display and Apple specifically mentions flexible OLED technology in the patent - as well as other screen types.
We hope these technologies materialize in future products, and one could imagine that the iPad would be an ideal fit. Users would be able to use tactile feedback in many different applications, including games where control buttons are often integrated directly on the touch screen.