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UPDATED: Neils in the comments set me right…. I’m just blocking the sound with my finger. I don’t think this is any haptic interface at this point. Too bad, it’s a cool idea.
The iPhone is an ingenious device– anyone that’s used one for a few hours can tell you this. Even with all the missing features, so much thought and design has gone into this first generation iPhone that getting this to ship on the promised date must have been a staggering amount of work.
The iPhone is on the cutting edge of haptic interfaces- the much vaunted pinch-and-zoom is the most striking example of that. But there are other interfaces around, some more subtle. I’m sure there are more that I haven’t even found yet. But here is one I haven’t seen written about anywhere else- the mute-touch.
If you play a video on iPhone, (YouTube or iPod video) the screen wants to go wide, and so you rotate it counter-clockwise, with the speakers now pointing to the right.
You need to be using the speakers for this to work- as you are listening to the video, touch the lower speaker (this would be the right-hand bottom quarter) on iPhone. It mutes the sound. Let go and the sound pops back to normal. A really nice touch.