With the exception of the MacBook trackpad, Apple has almost completely dropped Force Touch (also known as 3D Touch) technology from its products. However, it looks like the company is planning to revamp this technology to bring it back to the Apple Watch and iPhone.
The US Patent & Trademark Office has issued several Apple patents related to force and pressure sensors. These patents detail how these sensors can be used for different purposes in Apple devices.
One of the patents reveals force sensors designed for “small form factor devices” such as the Apple Watch and even AirPods. Normal force sensors take up too much space, which makes them difficult to fit inside some devices. With the new technology, Apple would be able to fabricate a pressure-sensitive surface using microelectromechanical pressure sensors.
The patent shows an Apple Watch with a pressure-sensitive side button, indicating that the company could replace the physical buttons with new buttons based on pressure sensors. The Digital Crown could also integrate new optical sensors.
A second patent shows that Apple also plans to use pressure sensors on future Apple Watch straps. These sensors would detect blood pressure and other health-related parameters of the user.
Additionally, these new microelectromechanical sensors could also be used under iPhone screens to accurately detect small changes in pressure.
This technology combines smaller modules linked together rather than using a single component, allowing Apple to bring 3D Touch back to a system that costs less and is easier to integrate into multiple products.
And you, is this technology missing?