At 10am PST today, Apple is hosting an event in San Fransisco expecting to provide some information about their new tablet, the “iPad 3”, if you will. The new tablet is expected to boast a 2048×1536 resolution “retina display” screen like that used on the iPhone 4, where the pixel density is so great that Apple says individual pixels cannot be distinguished.
But the invite to the event (image shown above) also alludes to haptics technology, which The Guardian uses to predict that Apple has picked Helsinki-based Senseg’s technology to power tactile feedback on the screen of the new device. And according to analysts interviewed by the Guardian, they’re expecting to see more than just the high definition display.
If you haven’t heard about Senseg, you’re probably missing out out on one of the most “the future is now” technologies coming out of Finland. Senseg creates programmable touch screens that offer sensation of rich textures, edges, and vibrations, right on the screen.
Senseg is able to create these feelings using Colomb’s force, the principle of attraction between electrical charges. By passing an ultra-low current into Senseg’s “Tixel,” the screen can create a small attractive force to your finger’s skin. By modifying this attractive force sense is able to create a variety of textures, such as the sensation of moving a vinyl record on a DJ music app, feeling sand when accessing images of the Gobi Desert, or feeling the corner of a page when reading an e-book on a tablet.
The Guardian bases its prediction off the absence of information, which isn’t very satisfying:
When the Guardian met Senseg’s chiefs in their Helsinki offices in January, its directors declined to say whether they had spoken to Apple about the use of the technology in the iPad – but said they were talking to tablet manufacturers.
Apple is famously secretive about which companies it is using for its new products; in the past it has cut companies out of announcements when they have leaked information ahead of time, making those involved especially paranoid about speaking out of turn.
But asked this week whether Apple is a customer for the E-Sense technology, Petri Jehkonen, Senseg’s technical marketing manager, declined to comment. Asked whether Apple is not a customer, he replied: “That would be for Apple to say. My comment is no comment.”
About a month ago I spoke with Ville Makinen, the CTO of Senseg, who said that the company has perfected the technology, and has spent the last two years focusing on the value chain needed to put the Senseg Tixel into production. We also know the company has traveled extensively through Asia, talking to manufacturers.
Mäkinen continued, “If we’re lucky, and if it’s the direction we want to go, we might see a device entering the market around Christmas 2012 or the early part of 2013.”
We’ll have to wait and see what Apple announces today.
Senseg’s marketing director, David Rice, could not be reached for comment at the time of this article.