How your iPhone could magically sprout buttons in the future

Let’s face it: all these years later, you still can’t type on an iPhone. None of us can. Trying to text while walking? Pure gibberish.

But we love our iPhones. Actual tactile buttons—even the ones that flip out from Androids—seem so 2005 at this point. Which is why a technology that promises to have the glass surface of a smartphone temporarily morphing to grow buttons and then receding back into a smooth surface sounds like the best of all worlds. It also sounds like sorcery. But it’s real.

The Atlantic reports that a company called Tactus Technologies has developed a product using flexible glass that will temporarily push fluid under the glass face to bend the surface of a smartphone (or tablet, presumably) into buttons comprising a keyboard. When the text or email in question has been sent and you want go back to looking at Google Maps, the fluid will recede, and the bumps in the glass will disappear as the glass surface becomes smooth again.


While there’s no rumor at this point that Apple has any plans to use this technology (so far the coolest thing we’ve heard is that the next version’s body may be made of something called Liquid Metal) Apple has always had a passion for using the best glass products available. If Tactus Technologies actually pulls this off, I’m willing to bet Apple will get in on it.

Below is an illustration to help you visualize how it works.

How your iPhone could magically sprout buttons in the future