Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,216,147) for a “tactile switch for an electronic device” — the device being an Apple Watch. The plan seems to be to add even more functionality to the smartwatch’s Digital Crown and screen.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that many types of electronic devices use input devices, such as buttons or switches, to receive user input. However, they may allow only a single type of input.
For example, a button may only transmit one type of signal, which is a compression of a button that completes a circuit. As electronic devices reduce in size, it may be desirable to have fewer input buttons or devices, without reducing functionality or the number of input types that can be used by a user to provide information to a device.
What’s more, in instances where the button or switch may be movable or rotatable, the button may not be able to include a sensor or other electronic element that requires data and/or power to be transferred between the button and one or more components of the electronic device, as the movement may make an electrical connection difficult. Apple wants to change this.