Apple’s new Magic Keyboard is awesome—if you don’t believe me, check out my colleague Jeff Benjamin’s excellent video review—but it lacks Force Touch feedback currently found on the Apple Watch and iPhone 6s display and MacBook trackpads.
But Apple seems to be interested in bringing this technology to a future Mac keyboard, according to a patent granted to the company on Tuesday by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).
Apple just released its Force Touch-enabled Magic Trackpad 2, which joins the Force Touch trackpads already built into many of its MacBooks. The significance of the Magic Trackpad 2 sporting Force Touch, is that it essentially brings the feature to everyone without needing to go all out and purchase a brand new machine.
Force Touch is an interesting concept that’s been a part of our vernacular for over a year with the unveiling of the Apple Watch. Since then, the pressure sensitive technology has made its way, in some way, shape, or form, to both MacBooks and the iPhone.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Force Touch is best implemented on the iPhone (as 3D Touch), but it’s an interesting feature on the MacBook as well. Now that pretty much anyone can add the ability to Force Touch via a $129 Magic Trackpad 2 purchase, I figured it was time to showcase some of the things that you can do with the nifty pressure sensitive input method.
Of all of the new “Magic” devices in Apple’s lineup, perhaps no device is more deserving of the moniker than the Magic Trackpad 2. It’s the only device, out of the three new peripherals that Apple recently launched, that truly brings new functionality to the table.
While the Magic Mouse 2 and the Magic Keyboard are legitimate upgrades over the products they replace, the Magic Trackpad 2 is the most justifiable upgrade from a pure features standpoint, and Apple’s pricing for it says as much.
At $129.00, this isn’t exactly a knee-jerk purchase to be made on a whim. And if you already own the old Magic Trackpad, an impulse buy is lessened even more.
I’ve been testing out the new Magic Trackpad 2 for several days now, and it’s taken me a while to put my thoughts down in writing. This device takes significantly more time to get to know than either the Magic Mouse 2 or the Magic Keyboard. That’s because the Magic Trackpad offers the most diverse functionality of the trio.
With all of that said, is the Magic Trackpad 2 worth upgrading to if you already own the previous Magic Trackpad? Watch our video review, and read my full analysis for the details.
Last month, Huawei made headlines by introducing a phone with Force Touch before Apple. Everyone knew that Apple was releasing a phone with Force Touch, (now more appropriately named 3D Touch in the iPhone 6s) so Huawei probably thought it was a good idea to strike preemptively and build off of the already established momentum.
The result, as you can see from the following video, is a mixed bag. While Apple’s implementation is focused with a defining purpose, Huawei’s version seems to be all over the place. Judge for yourselves…
3D Touch is the biggest new feature to come to the iPhone 6s, and it brings a whole new interaction paradigm to the iPhone. 3D Touch is possible by means of a new pressure sensitive screen used in Apple’s new iPhone hardware.
By tapping into this new input method, Apple and third-party developers are able to lend users access to quick Home screen shortcuts, in app previews, and quicker access directly to specific pages within an app. Not only is 3D Touch an awesome feature today, but its potential for the future is even more exciting.
In the following video, I’ll share over 15 different points on 3D Touch. Perhaps you’ll find something in this list that you weren’t aware of.
A new jailbreak tweak called Force Touch Activator was recently released on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, and it lets users on older hardware running iOS 8 mimic the 3D Touch effect that’s headlining the launch of the iPhone 6s.
Real 3D Touch requires a pressure sensitive screen, which is a part of the new hardware found in the new iPhone 6s. Older hardware, like the iPhone 6, lacks the pressure sensitive screen, so jailbreak tweak developers have to look for unique ways to try to bring similar functionality to older devices.
I’ll be honest and say that Force Touch Activator is pretty much nothing like 3D Touch—you don’t have the nuanced sensitivity levels, you don’t have haptic feedback, and most importantly, you lack a true pressure sensitive screen—but it’s an interesting tweak for jailbreakers to try nonetheless. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough inside, and see for yourself.
At this point, it’s pretty much a given that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will feature some type of Force Touch implementation. Rumors have been going around, analysts have hinted to it, code has been discovered, and parts have leaked out that hint to the inclusion of the new technology.
What hasn’t been as clear is how the adaption of Force Touch will work on a device like an iPhone. For the Apple Watch, Force Touch was pretty much a necessity given that device’s diminutive size and limited input options. For the iPhone, a device with way more screen real estate, the implementation of Force Touch can potentially take on many angles.
Earlier Today, 9to5Mac’s well-connected blogger Mark Gurman provided some additional details on what to expect from Apple’s first usage of Force Touch in its primary money maker. Apparently, Force Touch will actually be branded as the 3D Touch Display, and will include not just two levels of pressure sensitivity—but three.
The IFA trade show in Berlin is well under way, and Huawei, Chinese OEM of Android smartphones, just announced its Mate S—a new smartphone with Force Touch-esque technology incorporated into the screen. Of course, Huawei isn’t officially calling it “Force Touch” in its press materials, but it is doing so via hashtags in tweets from its official Twitter account.
During its press event, Huawei took the opportunity to show off its new force-sensing screen weighing an orange by placing the piece of fruit on top of the Mate S’ screen. I have to admit, that’s kind of cool, but it also seems a bit odd at the same time.
Some new photos surfaced this weekend, showing what is said to be the front face of an iPhone 6s. 9to5Mac shares the high resolution images of the claimed component, which appears to offer up insight into two of the unannounced handset’s new features.
The first is a higher resolution FaceTime camera. We’ve been hearing rumors for a while now that the iPhone 6s will feature an improved front-facing camera for taking better selfies, and if legitimate, this part confirms it with a larger FaceTime camera sensor.
Apple today officially confirmed its rumored media event will be indeed taking place on Wednesday, September 9. The press conference is widely expected to bring new iPhones, iPads and possibly a next-generation Apple TV.
New pieces of information continue to surface in the run-up to the event. According to latest tidbits from a reputable publication with reliable sources, Apple won’t unveil an ‘iPhone 6c’ at the event.
Developer and noted iOS beta hacker Hamza Sood has discovered code relating to Force Touch in iOS 9. Sood tweeted out a screenshot of the code this evening, saying it appears Apple has been “testing keyboard trackpad gestures on the iPhone 6s, activated via Force Touch.”
Given that the 6s is expected to be unveiled within the next few weeks, and believed to already be in mass production, it would seem the code all-but-confirms that the new iPhone will include Force Touch technology—a feature that already exists in MacBooks and Apple Watch.
Yesterday’s report by a credible outlet provided an interesting outline of how Force Touch works and feels under iOS and on Apple’s upcoming ‘iPhone 6s’ and ‘iPhone 6s Plus’ smartphones. The basic premise behind outfitting an iPhone with a force-sensing screen is making user interface interactions faster with focus on shortcuts.
But there are still plenty of doubters out there who don’t think Force Touch iPhones make much sense, arguing the technology is but a marketing gimmick which doesn’t provide any benefit versus long-tapping items on the screen.
While there’s some merits to those voices, I’m inclined to think they’re missing the big picture and here’s why.