Apple is working on technology to make physical keys such as iPhone power keys or keyboard keys thinner, as well as adding options for different tactile feedback. Apple U.S .10,698,489
Apple has come up with a system called a compact pivot input structure that may move only slightly or may not move at all. This may allow for increased flexibility in tactile design and may allow tactile to change with the environment or use conditions. Many pivot buttons have a travel of 10 microns or less when a force is applied to them. For example, a rotating button can use a force sensor to determine when the button is pressed. When the rotary button moves or bends, the force sensor records changes in capacitance, resistance, current, voltage, or other electrical values, even if the movement may be very small.
The pivot system without physical motion may combine several advantages of traditional mechanical switch and pivot input structure. For example, a pivot system without vertical or inward movement can provide higher reliability of mechanical buttons with a lower profile and variable touch. Apple's patent is about 17000 words, but in general, the new system to make buttons more compact requires magnets. An input device includes an input structure, a magnet connected to the input structure, and an electromagnet. When the electromagnet is activated, the magnet rotates so that the input structure rotates, and the magnet and input structure rotate around a pivot to provide tactile and / or visual feedback to the user.