Apple is working on a simple system that will make iPhone buttons feel clicky even through a case. If you own any of the newest iPhone then you would have already covered the device in a case. With an iPhone in a case, it is a known fact that volume and power button can lose their nice definitive clicking sensation. Most users complain that putting a case makes buttons on the iPhone feel squishy and Apple believes it can solve that problem.
The Cupertino-based iPhone maker has filed a patented solution for this issue which involves simple magnet-based solution. In the filing spotted by Patently Apple, Apple describes that all electronic devices are designed with predetermined factors and standard to maintain consistency but it is common for consumers to couple them with an accessory such as a case.
“An accessory can provide additional benefits in the form of protection, improved appearance, and/or additional functionalities. However, an accessory may also change the operation of the electronic device and sometimes alter the user experience and feeling of the electronic device,” the patent explains.
While Apple’s description pretty much nails the problem, the solution envisioned by the company shows the extent to which the company focuses on its products. The idea is to have magnets placed inside the button depression of the case. Whenever you press the outside of the case, the magnet will click against the button itself. This action will create a tactile feeling identical to that of a click response when you press the buttons of an iPhone without a case.
“An electronic device, comprising: a housing; an actuator unit carried by the housing; and a tactile compensation unit coupled with the actuator unit, wherein at least a threshold actuation force to the actuator unit depresses the actuator unit, the threshold actuation force defining a minimum force to depress the actuator unit, and wherein the tactile compensation unit includes a triggering unit that forms a magnetic circuit with a triggering magnetic element carried by an accessory device that covers the actuator unit and provides an alteration to the threshold application force, the tactile compensation unit providing, in response to the formation of the magnetic circuit, a compensation force that compensates for the alteration to maintain the threshold actuation force,” Apple explains in the patent filing.
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There is a possibility that Apple will implement this solution with cases designed for the next-generation iPhone. However, there is no way to tell when or whether this will ever get implemented into an actual product lineup. However, a simple implementation like this will make Apple’s own cases for iPhone more desirable against ones from third-party case makers.