Senseg hints to Pocket-lint that iPad 3 will feature its Feel technology

UPDATE: It looks like Senseg aren't in the iPad this time, however you can check out what is in the new iPad at the following stories:

iPad 3 details revealed... Retina Display and called 'The new iPad'

The new iPad: Everything you need to know

The new iPad pictures and hands-on

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Pocket-lint has had it all but confirmed that the iPad 3 will contain some never before seen touch technology. Senseg isn't a company you will have heard of but it makes a technology that promises to turn touch screens into Feel Screens and, come tonight, after the Apple event, it looks set to have a home in the latest must-have gadget.


"We won't be making any statements until after Apple's announcement," a company spokesman told Pocket-lint with a timing that's just too obvious to be anything else after we asked them the direct question of whether Senseg is involved in the iPad 3 launch.

While that isn't in itself a confirmation, combined with several other pieces to the puzzle - including Apple's event invitation photo and strap line pictured above - it's not a big stretch to see that the new iPad 3, or iPad HD if that becomes the name of the new Apple tablet, will indeed include Senseg technology.

To get the full picture you have to rewind back to June 2011. In an opinion piece, How Finland Brought Down Nokia & Revived Itself, for Trusted Reviews, the UK freelance journalist Gordon Kelly wrote: "Senseg is a haptics technology company founded just five years ago, the start of Nokia's decline. Unlike haptics until this point, Senseg is working on creating complex textures rather than simply buzzing your fingertips.

"The aim is to make a corrugated surface feel corrugated, a rough surface rough, a soft surface soft. The first products will ship by the end of this year and again Nokia is not Senseg's first port of call. 'We are currently working with a certain tablet maker based in Cupertino,' reveals Senseg senior vice president Ville Mäkinen."

That certain tablet maker from Cupertino that Makinen talked about is Apple. After all, how many others can you name?

Fast forward now to CES and Mobile World Congress, and the company was keen to show off its new tech to those that could find the stand.

Pocket-lint caught up with Senseg in Barcelona. We got hands-on - literally, as it's the only way to experience the haptic interface - with a couple of demos on a developer unit: an image of the kitchen tile that felt smooth until you hit the bump of the grout and a representation of a solid bit of slate-like material which had a missing part so as when we slid our finger over it, it almost felt as if the tablet gave way and our finger dropped a bit. Clever stuff indeed.

Senseg describes the tech on their website with equal measures of "magic".

"With Senseg, touch screens come alive with textures, contours and edges that users can feel. Using Senseg technology, makers of tablet computers, smart phones, and any touch interface device can deliver revolutionary user experiences with high fidelity tactile sensations. Your customers will Feel the Difference with Senseg," it says.

"Unlike effects created by mechanical vibration and piezo solutions, Senseg is silent. Moreover, with Senseg application developers have precise control of the location and type of effect users experience. What’s more, Senseg technology scales from touch pads, smart phones and tablets to the largest touch screens without increasing manufacturing complexity."

At the time of the Mobile World Congress, Apple invited us to the launch of what is expected to be the iPad 3, now also known as the iPad HD. Although Apple hasn't said that the invite features an iPad and the words: "We have something you really have to see. And touch."

It's that touch element to the invite that until now has gone unnoticed, although it led Charles Arthur, The Guardian's technology editor, to hypothesise that Apple is very literal with its invites. It likes telling us the news before it happens. You just have to break the code.

"Apple's previous event in October had a picture of some app icons, a '1' against the iPhone, and the phrase 'Let's talk iPhone' - in retrospect, a pun on the planned introduction of the single iPhone 4S, with the Siri voice-driven 'assistant' software," writes Arthur in his think piece.

Arthur goes on to say that when he "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".

Indeed, in later conversations this week, when Arthur asked if Apple was a customer of Senseg, the company's technical marketing manager, replied: "That would be for Apple to say. My comment is no comment."

If Senseg's technology is used in the new iPad, it could open up a wave of new touchy-feely games and iPad apps that really involve the user, as well as meeting Apple's usual high levels of wow factor. Imagine feeling your way through a game rather than just wiping your finger over a glass screen. It sounds incredible doesn't it, and that's before you start to think of the possibilities of helping those with poor sight use the Apple tablet a lot more easily.

It would also undoubted give Apple a further edge over the competition, which so far has struggled to compete against the popularity of the iPad. A tablet that allows you to feel, "magic" Apple CEO Tim Cook will no doubt say.

So far the nearest any company has got to offering a viable and popular alternative is the Asus Transformer and Transformer Prime, although Samsung would beg to differ. Samsung's latest attempt (the company offers almost dozens of tablets at different sizes) is to add a stylus, but reviewers and the public have reacted with mixed opinion.

The Apple event is just hours away so we won't have long to find out - however you should expect to want to touch and feel the new iPad when it hopefully launches later.

 

Now read - iPad 3 / iPad HD rumours, features, pictures and possible specs.

Will new iPad use Senseg for touchy-feely interface? Let us know what you think in the comments below.