Future iPhones could have pressure sensitive screens which recognise how hard you touch them

From light taps to full-blown button mashing, Apple's latest patent give us a glimpse into the future

Future Apple devices could have screens that can actually detect how hard your fingers are pressing against them.

A patent filed by Apple was recently published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, and it describes a multitouch screen which uses Frustrated Total Internal Reflection, or FTIR for short.

The proposed technology uses a host of infrared transmitters which cover the whole screen in invisible infrared red lines. There's a detection window at the top and bottom end of the display, and when combined, they're able to detect changes in the infrared pattern which becomes more or less warped, depending on how hard you're pressing against the screen.

The detection method is very similar to Microsoft's PixelSense technology, which it showed off on a Surface table demo at E3. If Microsoft's demo is anything to go by, then the end experience looks set to be very impressive indeed.

There are a number of uses for pressure sensitivity in a smartphone screen. Gaming would benefit greatly for starters. Imagine pressing harder on the accelerator in a driving game to make you go faster or easing off it slightly to slow down on tight corners.

It could also have practical uses too. Holding down the shutter button in the camera app could initiate focus, while a harder press could then snap a photo, without you having to take your finger off the screen.

While it might seem a little far fetched now, the technology already exists, and it's been proven to work. The iPhone 6 is unlikely to debut with a pressure sensitive screen, but we're still hoping that we don't have too long to wait for a little sprinkle of display magic.

READ MORE: iPhone 6: price, release date, specs - everything we think we know

[via Patently Apple]

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