The MacBook’s current trackpad is already pretty perfect as far as we’re concerned, but a newly approved patent suggests Apple may have plans to update its design, removing the built-in button and replacing it with force sensors and a vibrating actuator to offer tactile feedback.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday issued Apple a patent for a touch pad that removes the traditional “clickable” integrated button, replacing it with four or more force sensors and an actuator to provide tactile feedback. According to Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,633,916 for a “Touch pad with force sensors and actuator feedback,” the operation of a trackpad with an integrated switch-type button can be mimicked and improved upon with force sensors. Press and release operations, for example, can be easily discerned with the proposed method.