Should the iPad have haptic feedback?

Haptic feedback is an attempt to bring some physical feedback to touch screen interaction, by having a small motor make the entire device vibrate on screen presses. On Android it’s common, even on tablets – my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus has it. I have it turned on, too, and have gotten used to it. I wouldn’t say that it simulates keyboard feedback any more than being kicked in the behind simulates sitting down, but at least it’s something to let you know that the keyboard got your message…literally.

The iPad however has no such feature. When you press its keyboard, it doesn’t do anything physical to let you know you did. Neither does it have the ability to vibrate for any other reason, like notifications, games, or anything like that. Personally I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I’d rather have the feature than not. On the other hand, it doesn’t really affect me much, which might be because iOS in itself seems to keep the keyboard operational throughout UI lags where Android doesn’t. One of the key ways I know that too much stuff is going on in the background on my Galaxy Tab is when the keyboard, and subsequently the haptic feedback, becomes laggy and buggy. On the iPad however, that doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem, though that’s not to say it never happens.

I guess the choice to not include a motor in the iPad has to do with the age old idea of vibration being used in combination with, or instead of, ringtones and message tones. With the iPad not being able to do that, the logic might just be that it also doesn’t require vibration. I don’t agree though. I extremely rarely use calls and SMS messages on my phone, and instead use email, IM, Skype, and on rare occasions, Facetime. All of which is perfectly possible on a tablet, and includes as much beeping and noise making to get attention as the more phone-specific services. Also, even if haptic feedback was the only reason to include vibration, that would be a good enough reason in my book. And it isn’t the only reason. So, Apple….why?

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets and tends to stick with his choice of device for a long time as a result of that. After a five year break from writing, he's back to share this view with the world once again.