Apple’s next generation of iPhones has been expected to include something similar to Force Touch for quite some time. However, the official name and functionality of the new dimension of iPhone interface have been up in the air.
According to 9to5Mac, Apple will dub the feature “3D Touch,” which is actually more justified than it might seem.
Sources have told 9to5Mac that the new iPhone 6s display will be set to register “three levels of pressure: a tap, a press, and a deeper press…” Hence, “3D Touch Display.” It is likely that a tap is what we now know as the single level of pressure we have on iPhones. The next two levels of pressure would presumably be shortcuts of various degrees.
9to5Mac gave some examples of shortcuts enabled by a press, or “Force Touch,” which include shortcutting to turn-by-turn navigation for a location, and prompting an action menu when pressing on a song in the Music app.
Despite only registering three levels of pressure, the hardware will still be able to detect many more levels that could be used in other applications. For example, a software instrument could use pressure to affect its sound, or a drawing app could vary the heaviness of a line with pressure.
The ability to detect pressure on a touchscreen is a new idea in the mainstream of consumer electronics. It will surely enable some really impressive new capabilities. At the same time, some worry that user interfaces could become less accessible if actions start getting hidden behind Force Touches.
When it comes to user interface design, it sounds like Apple is using the technology as a shortcut for common tasks. With so many generations of devices to support, it will probably be used for shortcuts for some time. Are you excited for the new technology to come to future iPhones? Let us know what you think in the comments!