The original iPhone introduced the world to Multi-Touch, forever changing the way people experience technology. With 3D Touch, you can do things that were never possible before. It senses how deeply you press the display, letting you do all kinds of essential things more quickly and simply. Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published one of the inventions behind 3D Touch. Apple breaks it down to a "touch sensing function" combined with a "force sensing function," and explains how each layer controls a distinct function to provide a complete multilevel function for a feature of an app or game.
Getting to the heart of the invention, Apple notes that in patent FIG. 1 there is shown a conceptual cross-sectional view of a display that can be used to perform multiple functions.
The functions can include a display function 100, a touch sensing function 102, and a force sensing function 104. These functions can be performed in conjunction with the display. In other words, a user can interact with an image displayed on the display with one or more touches, an applied force, or both touch and force.
For example, a game that is displayed on the display can receive touch inputs from a user. As another example, an application displayed on the display can perform one function at one rate of speed when a user applies a small amount of force to the display and perform the function at a faster rate of speed when the user applies a greater amount of force to the display.
The touch sensing and force sensing functions can each use or share some or all of the display area. For example, in one embodiment, a user can interact with a displayed image by touching and/or by applying a force at an appropriate position on the display, with the appropriate position located anywhere on the display. In another embodiment, the display function 100 and the touch sensing function 102 can use the entire display while the force sensing function involves a portion of the display. Thus, each function can use some or all of the display when in operation.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 depicts an iPhone that will use the 3D Touch but notes, like most inventions, that this feature could apply to any number of future products including a MacBook, iPad, Apple Watch, iPod, Apple TV Remote, television and other devices with a touch display.
Apple's patent 4B depicts conceptual drawing of an array of capacitive sensing elements that is suitable for use in a touch sensing layer and a force sensing layer.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a system that includes a display, a force sensing device, and a touch sensing device.
Apple patent application 20160216833 was originally filed in Q3 2013 with its last filing in March 2016.
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