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Rumour-mill rumbles on Apple, Immersion vibro iPhone pact claim

Shake-up in handset haptics?

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Apple's plans for the evolution of the iPhone could be on shaky ground - in a good way. The company is said to be talking to tactile feedback firm Immersion to build haptics into the handset.

Llittle-known Mac news site Palluxo.com has claimed an unnamed Apple source told it that senior executives from Immersion and Apple met last week to discuss “licensing and implementation issues of iPhone haptics”.

The source also claimed the unnamed executives will meet again this week to discuss the matter further.

It shouldn’t be too hard for Immersion to get a foot in the door with Apple because Immersion’s CEO, Clent Richardson, is a former Apple executive. Between 1997 and 2001, Richardson served a stint as Apple's VP of worldwide developer relations.

The lack of any form of physical feedback from the iPhone’s keypad is a bone of contention for many users because distinguishing between each key pressed becomes more difficult when relying on vision alone.

If Apple is indeed considering implementing a rumble feature into the iPhone, then Immersion would be a good choice. It currently offers a haptic system called TouchSense - you can get a feel for it in the CSN-7040 and CIN-7000 Immersion portable navigation devices.

For the time being, feedback-seeking users will have to make do with a plastic overlay for the phone that provides something similar to haptic feedback - precision holes punched out of it that align with the iPhone’s on-screen Qwerty keys.

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