Apple files for a patent for ‘touch rejection’ on iOS, watchOS devices

Touch sensitive devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch have become popular as input devices. However, occasionally a touch may have an unwanted outcome, so Apple has filed for a patent (number 20180024693) for “touch rejection.”

A touch sensitive device allows you to perform various functions by touching the touch sensor panel using a finger, stylus, or other object at a location often dictated by a user interface (UI) being displayed by the display device. In general, the touch sensitive device can recognize a touch event and the position of the touch event on the touch sensor panel, and the computing system can then interpret the touch event in accordance with the display appearing at the time of the touch event, and thereafter can perform one or more actions based on the touch event. 

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As touch sensing technology continues to improve, touch sensitive devices are increasingly being used in environments where the orientation of a user's hand or other objects relative to the device is unknown to the device. For example, a user's hand or a stylus can interact with a touch-sensitive device irrespective of the orientation of the device. 

However, touch processing performance to remove undesired touch events can degrade if the orientation of the user's hand or an object is substantially different than the orientation expected by the device. According to Apple’s invention, “touches can be weighted inversely to their size and distance to the nearest neighboring touch.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.