Apple is doubling down on Force Touch after the launch of the Apple Watch and its latest MacBooks. The feature, which enables a touch screen or trackpad to detect the difference between a light tap and a hard press, could eventually make its way into future devices.
A patent application titled “Multi-functional Hand-held Device,” was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday. It describes a device capable of adapting its controls to the way in which it is used and incorporates a number of input mechanisms, such as touch screen and voice. It also places a strong emphasis on a force-sensing mechanism as an essential part of the invention.
Apple also covers the invention’s use in devices beyond the MacBook and Apple Watch, including GPS units and remote controls. As with all of Apple’s published patents, it’s unknown if or when the company plans to use the feature in future products. However, there have been several rumors pointing towards the so-called iPhone 6S and iPad Pro coming with Force Touch technology. The next Apple TV is also expected to come with a new remote featuring a touchpad, according to the New York Times. But it’s unknown if Apple plans to incorporate Force Touch technology into it as well.
Apple filed the patent application Jan. 12, 2015, and credits Apple engineer Steven P. Hotelling for the invention.