Apple and Nintendo, forcing the future of taptic feedback

Rene Ritchie, commenting on the September iPhone 7 rollout:

Where before you could press firmly on your iPhone 6s display to trigger 3D Touch and get a reassuring “thump” in response, with iPhone 7 you get a broader, deeper, more sophisticated range of responses.

Some of them are delightfully subtle: Spin through a date or time picker and you can feel a slight “tock” for each number. Thumb across alternate characters on the keyboard and you can feel a little “tick” for each accent.

Then this discussion of Nintendo Switch haptics, from the NeoGaf forums:

The demo that blew my mind was the marble box.

Imagine you are holding a small wooden box, with x amount of marbles inside. As you move the box, you can feel them move and clack against each other.

The Joy-con can emulate this feeling incredibly well, I was able clearly feel three separate marbles rolling down the side of the Joy-con and then each hitting each other as they got to the bottom.

What started as something simple (vibrate mode) has matured into a subtle science with broad applications.

Good post from Rene. Looking forward to seeing this evolve.



  • But but but the tech echo chamber said Apple had a disappointing year and doesn’t innovate anymore. /s

  • Jim_Perry

    I don’t know about Nintendo, but I do like the subtle feedback in iOS on my 7 Plus.

    Reading the part about Nintendo, I remembered the cutscene in the PS1 game Metal Gear Solid with the “Darpa Chief”. You are talking to this character while he has a heart attack, and as it progresses the vibration in the controller grows stronger and stronger.

    I don’t know if another game used the feedback as smart and effective as a storytelling device, but that was amazing the first time it happened.