2016 to be the year of pressure-sensitive displays, but do you care?

by: Edgar CervantesDecember 19, 2015

apple 3d touch

Apple’s implementation of pressure-sensitive displays have taken the tech world by storm… or at the very least they seem to have started a trend. Research firm IHS is now predicting that 25% of all smartphones coming in 2016 will have some form of pressure sensitivity display, likely similar to Apple’s Force Touch, 3D Touch, or whatever you want to call it.

If you are not familiar with this technology, pressure-sensitive displays can help a smartphone determine how hard you are pressing a screen with your finger. This will then allow the operating system to apply different actions depending on the pressure level. In iOS, for example, you can make quick previews or settings come up by pressing harder.

apple 3d touchSee also: Opinion: Force Touch is a paradoxical complication in the world of sublime simplicity127


This is cool and all, but we are still trying to figure out whether it’s a gimmick or an actual helpful feature. Also, we have pretty much been taking advantage of something very similar – long pressing. How are pressure-sensitive any better? The debate is pretty hot right now.

Some of us believe there is not much of a need for it, and it will do nothing but confuse users. I swear, nearly every time a person asks me how the iPhone 6S is different from the 6, I tell them one of the biggest differences they will notice is Force Touch. Then they ask me what it is and how it works. They usually have no idea about it, and that’s because the industry didn’t evolve with this concept in mind. It’s a new way to interact with our devices and will take some time to be adopted.

Other related content: 

watch force touch

On the other hand, Force Touch enthusiasts say it’s a much more intuitive way to work with a phone. In a way, it’s how we interact with the rest of the world, after all. People just need to get used to it. Like with any other new technology, you don’t really know how valuable something is until you actually learn to live with it. Then you can’t let it go. Instagram has actually realized what this technology can do to the experience, and they have ported a transformed version of their Force Touch integration to Android.

On which side to you stand? Are you into pressure-sensitive screens? Would you rather live with long presses? Hit the comments and let us know!

  • touch touch

    I think the pressure sensitive display is a hype. It makes user confuse… should I touch any longer, or touch harder? or perhaps longer and harder?

    I think a regular touch is already the best.

  • Bob F

    Not sure what value it holds over long press

    • With time it adds more strain on the finger, so there’s that.

    • Brad Fortin

      It saves time. If you’re long-pressing dozens/hundreds of times a day it starts to add up.

      • coLin

        and it’s got a few levels of pressure not just one

        • Brad Fortin

          Essentially making it the phone equivalent of click/right-click/middle-click.

    • Peter

      Oh god, not the long press cr..p again. Its not the same! Its actually very Simple. Long press is 1 type of input. Force press is another. It’s right long left click vs right click. Don’t be an idiot, there is a difference and if implemented right, it does make using the device much quicker and easier.

  • clownFace Prod.

    Whatever, Apple. Let me know when I can drag and drop something to the phone without iTunes.

    • Dapsy


    • fredphoesh

      to be fair, that point kinda died a few years ago when android became a lot more security conscious… Now when I plug my note 4 into my pc, though I can “see it” in my notifications as a usb device, it is not listed in file explorer. This is the case with many android devices these days… gone are the days of your sd card just showing up as storage.

      • madmike41

        unlock your lockscreen first smartass… this prevents unauthorised access to your phones files…

        • Bam!

          It would be better though if access was revoked once you locked the screen again.

    • mrochester

      You can already do that with an iPhone.

    • schahram

      Apple would never fulfil your wish, because they want you to be dependent on them.

    • Diego

      I can mount my iOS devices as ftp servers with a file manager.

    • Iqbal khan

      use itools,, connect to pc drag drop whatever u want..

    • Tan Zhi Kai

      There’s an app for that.

  • Eric Vandemark

    I personally welcome it, especially if it can be an alternative to pressure sensitive styli found on the Galaxy Note line. Would much prefer a stock Android phone with pressure sensitive drawing capabilities than a Note phone. Coming from a Note 3 owner. I’m looking forward to see how it turns out

  • Volca Lucia

    Long press already exist, something similar yet equally useful with cheaper budget. there’s no need for pressure sensitive screen.

    • coLin

      such retard comments, no wonder you sit all day on your computers and do nothing

    • Peter

      It’s not the same r-tard. How about you disable your mouse right click and replace it with long press of the left button, since its the same…

      • Lol. Only complete morons would design a computer with only one mouse button.

  • Juan S. Camargo Visbal

    It’s bad UX and a huge step backwards from what multitouch did for device interaction.

  • Modman

    Is this Edgar Cervantes again?
    Come on android authority fire this guy.
    All long pressing is a new way to right click.
    Its been around forever.
    Although it has its uses. It isn’t anything revolutionary.
    But since apple has reintroduced it as 3d touch it must be innovative or amazing. Apple must be God. Since whatever they create draws attention.

  • I don’t care at all. The S-Pen offers a similar experience so I’m good for now.

    • Chris

      If you don’t care why did you make a comment?

      • Well this is a stupid question. Read the headline.

      • CaptainObvious

        By your logic, The rest of the world didn’t comment here so that means the rest of the world don’t care, just you and the few here so said they care.

      • Because the article asks the readers if they care or not, you dummy!

  • Ste

    Actually yrs, is a really neat feature. Or at least an implementation of long press like Instagram now

  • sunny

    No. For the millionth time, we want a phone that can just run on absolute full juice (all features turned on full) and last the entire day very (>30%) comfortably. With the ability to last for atleast two years without too much degradation.

    • Chris

      Contracts are going away Btw but I do agree with you

    • Brad Fortin

      They make phones like that. They’re big, chunky, heavy slabs, and people rarely consider them.

      • osm

        Those phones are cheap phones which are undesirable for other reasons (e.g. Blu Studio Energy 2)

        I can’t think of a flagship class ~5″ phone with very big battery. If there were one, I’d buy it in an instant.

        • Brad Fortin

          There’s also some like the Sonim XP7 with a huge 4800 mAh battery but only a Snapdragon 400. If you want more flagship-like specs you can try to get a Lenovo ZUK Z1, it’s got a 4100 mAh battery and a Snapdragon 801, or a Motorola Droid Turbo with a 3900 mAh battery and Snapdragon 805.

          But like I said people rarely consider them, which in turn causes OEMs to reconsider making them in the first place.

          • osm

            Lenovo ZUK Z1 and Motorola Droid Turbo 2 / Force are too big for my liking.

            I’d like a 5″ phone (5.2″ absolute max) with very large battery and at least upper mid-range specs. To my knowledge, none exist.

            I really wish manufacturers would sell phones with two battery options. Customer either choices skinny version with ~2500 mAh battery or goes for 4000-5000 mAh battery at the cost of an extra 3mm or so thickness.

          • Brad Fortin

            “Lenovo ZUK Z1 and Motorola Droid Turbo 2 / Force are too big for my liking.”

            That’s why we have phones with poor battery life.

            “I really wish manufacturers would sell phones with two battery options. Customer either choices skinny version with ~2500 mAh battery or goes for 4000-5000 mAh battery at the cost of an extra 3mm or so thickness.”

            And that’s why we have battery cases.

          • osm

            You can put big batteries in smaller phones. I have a 5000 mAh battery in a 5″ Galaxy S4. It doesn’t increase the length or width of the phone. It just makes it a bit thicker, which is fine.

            I don’t like battery cases because they increase length and width of the phone. Increasing these dimensions make phones harder to handle and pocket.

    • Vincent Gaylie

      Motorola Droid Turbo. Mostly on data and moderate usage (no gaming). 16.5 hours since charged.

      • Chuck Jones

        Combined with a 24gb storage, 4k video recording, I think it’s one of the best phones of last year and this year…

    • So you want a Sony phone then.

  • Ray

    i can live with long press, Instagram works great with long press…now google needs to get on board with implementing it on their email / photo client, and notification…

  • Matthew Randell

    I don’t care much for it, unless we can open up widgets in a pop-up window like Blackberry did with the Priv.

  • JG Games

    It doesn’t excite me at all. Maybe it’s useful but currently, I havn’t seen anything to really make me want it on my next device.

  • Android Developer

    Pressure detection on screens already exists on many devices, like Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. It’s just that nobody used it for something special, because it wasn’t interesting or popular enough.
    I don’t know how many people use this on iPhone, but I think it’s not intuitive.
    Maybe it’s useful for games and drawing. For the rest, I think other methods are better.

    • coLin

      and for quick access, and preview a web page, and navigate the cursor, and others and others. no nexus has the tech so far

      • Android Developer

        quick access of what? If you mean the recent apps, I think this is the one I wanted to have the most. Sadly, when I tried to do it on an iphone 6 (not for a long time), it failed to do so on most cases.
        Preview a web page – didn’t think about it. Not sure if I’d use it.
        Navigate the cursor – I think it could be useful, but this is already possible on some keyboards without special pressure on the screen.
        Those are not techs. Those are features using the exact same hardware. They can easily be added on software update (or OS update).
        It’s not that I’m against those features, but I think they are not intuitive, and I don’t see the common user use them, especially because the OS doesn’t seem to help learn them (at least according to the few videos I’ve seen).

  • CM’s stock ‘long press’ duration is too long. We should replace all the long presses with force touches. Then I won’t be as angry all the time.

    • Modman

      You say tomato I say tomato. Who cares. Its kinda like touch=5 seconds becomes touch =2 seconds. Its a value. If some one calls it 3d touch or force touch. Huawei or apple will sue them. Apple has succeeded in making people dumber with their terminology. Tablet becomes iPad mp3 player iPod. You also have to pay more than double for anything with their logo. People think they are smart when they buy it but they are the opposite. They have convinced people people that a pretty one button toy like the iPad is better than a productivity tool like galaxy note 8. I also keep hearing how optimized their tablet apps are and I really don’t see a difference. Ms Surface pro is the most optimized because its really a laptop.

  • Craigus

    It may have a practical use in some obscure niche application, but it’s just a way to use a new technology that has surfaced. Not a solution to a problem, or a better way to do something. It’ll make devices cost more with no real benefit, so should fade away with time.

  • Avieshek Rajkhowa

    3D display without glasses is what I’m vying for

    • 3d can be problematic on small screens. Causes strain on the eyes. The 3ds is a damn killer.

      • Avieshek Rajkhowa

        Well, technology is developing.

        • It ain’t about better technology as much as it is about sizes. A screen has to be wider than the distance between the eyes to begin feeling comfortable in 3d. Tablets have an easier job at that, because they are longer, especially in landscape. Laptop or desktop monitors are the best to start with, for obvious reasons. Otherwise whomever can afford big tv screens, go for those.

          • Avieshek Rajkhowa

            I’m learning to understand from you. There are however various patents by Apple which can be found on PatentlyApple site so, thats why I entrust atleast on Apple for a researched introduction to this feature. Such 3D capable screens though have been showcased in CES before but not sure if its comfortable for extended periods of time. But the thing is, if you keep waiting for perfection to happen than it would never come into relaity. Perfection is achieved as a ongoing process, as money fill flow in so thus the improvements.

          • You can’t really trust Apple to do anything right anymore. They’ve really gone to shit.

  • Person Dude

    I can see it being useful if either Apple or Android were able to incorporate it universally across their whole ecosystems and not just specific apps, otherwise it’d be too annoying to decide whether to long press or force press every time. However, that’s a near impossible task. Outside of that though, I can see it being useful for games, such as being able to fine tune how hard you accelerate in driving games.

    • Diego

      There are already 3d touch apps on the App Store, I don’t know if developers are going to be implementing it on android tho.

      • Some will. Android has had the technology for like, six years. It has been in Android. It was just never implemented because it’s f*cking stupid. I believe Adam Outler has an app on the app store that shows force touch works with most android devices already.

  • fredphoesh

    No, don’t care. The Note 4 has HOVVER sensitive contextual menu features… I used it once to say, look how cool that is… but press and hold on an item gives a plethora of contextual stuff, no need for pressure schessure sensitivity.

  • Scr-U-gle

    I love the ‘just a gimmick (until android copies it!)’ comments, just as fingerprint scanners that actually work, 64-bit processors, retina screens and the rest, you all hate until android catches up in a few years.

    • mrochester

      Steve Jobs was dead right when he said that Apple and the iPhone were more than 5 years ahead of the competition. In fact, I’d say the competition has still yet to catch up with Apple. The competition still does not understand that open source operating systems made by other companies are not what customers actually want. If Apple made cheap iPhones that people who can currently only afford Android phones could buy, there’d be no Android. Android is simply the iPhone for people who can’t afford the real thing.

      • Ben Lanckmans

        I don’t know what you’re talking about, they have phones with freaking dualcore processors, thats so 2013-ish in the smartphone industry, if they atleast made a quad or an octacore, but nope a plain dual core. iPhone might SEEM to be ahead but its far behind (especially with the dualcore trash), just cause they have a pressure touch doesn’t mean their phones are good at all, their specs are 2013-ish, and they still sell it for over a 1000 dollars, also when you’re gonna bring “OS optimization” as a factor, my Lumia 900 and 925 used to boot faster and launched apps faster than the iPhone 6.
        If i could choose for a 6S Plus or a Lumia 950 XL i’d take the 950 XL without a doubt, by the way i owned a 930 and that was faster than the 5S; currently i own a Galaxy S6, and even the iP6 owners i know say my phone is faster and less laggy.
        ohh and in all of that i did not even mention iPhone’s their crappy battery life lmao

        • mrochester

          You’re the sort of technically illiterate person who probably shouldn’t comment on these sort of articles. You should read the Anandtech review of the iPhone 6S to see how ‘2013’ it really is. You’re in for a rude awakening and a few lessons that will help you better understand.

          • LOL cherry picking reviews?

          • Scr-U-gle

            He doesn’t need to cherry pick anything, every review state the same thing, the Apple designed processors have stomped all I’ve every off the shelf processor that every androne phone has ever had.

            What a boring drone you really are proving to be.

          • I can find reviews to that say otherwise.

          • Scr-U-gle

            Of course you can, what a dullard you really are, the best androne processor is in the latest Note 5, which has had its arse handed to it on a silver platter by the iPhone 6s.

            End of.

          • The iPhone 6 processor is from Samsung’s bargain bin leftover parts from the Galaxy S3. Sold to people like you with revolutionary stamped across the box.

          • Scr-U-gle

            You really are still a dickhead, nothing changes I guess.

          • Yup, so go troll somewhere else.

          • Scr-U-gle

            How many posts are you upto now? 40,000?

          • Haven’t checked. You keep bringing that up, does it bother you?

          • Scr-U-gle

            Who’s on androne authority every day, all day? Who writes 40,000 post a year?

          • I’ve had this account for 5+ years, try again.

        • Scr-U-gle

          And still every IT director and CEO has an iPhone and Mac while you still have to repeat ‘do you want to go large’ 500 times a day.

          No I do not want a meal deal androne, just get me my burger.

  • osm


    Would much rather 2016 to be the year of the big batteries.

  • Samplethief

    Clever but pointless. (My work phone is a 6S)

  • madmike41

    I can totally see myself accidentally use forced touch when gripping my phone harder on a bus or something. It’s just not very natural. Like we don’t strain our fingers enough with having large phones and computer keyboards…

  • Luka Bulatović

    I don’t really see anything better than simple long press. So if Apple makes a plastic phone and it gets sold in millions would we go back to “plastic is fantastic” once again? Adding useful features like fingerprint sensor is one thing, but something useless just because another company made it is idiotic. They should focus on battery and fragmentation issues instead.
    I’d rather pay 1000$ for a great phone with good battery life with regular updates, than something thin with poor battery life that I can press…

  • Philipp Hilbert

    Never tried it but I’m sold on the potential of the technology. Definitely a feature, not just a gimmick…

  • charlie Jason

    But of course now every company is gonna put it in its products, because apple did it and other companies don’t want to admit that iPhones have something that they don’t.

    • mrochester

      This, sadly. Again and again, we see companies following what Apple do in the hope they can get on board early with the next big thing.

      • Its still a gimmick, look though the comments, nobody cares or wants force touch.

        • Scr-U-gle

          Until androne catches up again.

          You do this every time, make no point, just trolls, then when androne catches up, you then try and claim androne did it first.

          You are so proDICKtable

          • So why are you all over an android website then? Don’t you have something better to do?

          • Scr-U-gle

            Someone has to put moroids like you right with you nonsense and bulls#it.

            No real response to the facts, again, just another trolling comment.

          • So I take that as a no. One of those “this is my purpose in life” trolls.

          • Scr-U-gle

            I see you still use the same screen name but have dropped the 30,000 comments tag.

            While I travel the world, you’re still wanking over your grand bra in your basement.

          • Right, you sure have alot of time on your hands to be “traveling the world”.

          • Why are you even here child? Go get your mom to give you money for itunes or something. Go back to the apple store and play with the crap they won’t buy for you.

          • Scr-U-gle

            How’s the latest update your not getting?

          • What? My iPhone is fully updated.

          • Scr-U-gle

            You need to make your mind up scitzo.

          • about what? owning more than one phone?

          • Because he’s a sad child, and Apple zealots are the worst morons on earth. Essentially. I’m an apple user. But I’m not weak willed, so I didn’t turn apple into a religion like the idiots do.

          • Catches up to what? Android had force touch in the kernel ages ago.

          • Scr-U-gle

            Of course it does. What use does it have? Just like curved screens, no idea until Apple show Google what to copy.

    • I doubt it on this one. This will be one of the things that people quietly stop talking about when it fails. Like iBeacons Payments. Or iRadio. Or that failed ugly watch apple made.

  • Fabian Taveras

    Meh It’s okay but it isn’t exactly a make or break feature for a phone. I mean couldn’t a third party developer on the Google play store make an app that can mimic the benefits of force touch?

  • Gimmick. We had long press and air vier for a long time now, but developers did not implemented these features into their apps, so mostly they remained basic OS features. You can preview a clip in Android gallery with Air View, but not a YouTube clip in the YouTube app.

  • M42

    I could care less. But the bigger question is why Android is always a step behind Apple and intent on copying everything Cupertino does?

    • mrochester

      Because Apple are one of the most successful companies in the world, and certainly the most successful company in the smartphone market, and these other companies are absolutely desperate for a slice of that same pie. They seem to think that quickly copying whatever Apple does is the answer to that, despite time and financial reports showing that not to be the case at all.

      • If those companies followed Apples business model we still would be using dual core processors and every phone would like like as it did from 2008.

  • Ivan Budiutama

    I’ll pass. I’ll wait for the year of long lasting battery.

    • coLin

      get an iPhone 6 plus. two days of battery life

      • Ivan Budiutama

        My Nexus 5 can do the same. What I mean with battery life is 1 week life on full charge and allegedly fast charging as well. And yeah, it won’t happen in the near future. At least not on 2016

      • Unless you actually use your phone. I can drain my 6S Plus dry before 5PM easily. My Nexus 6P does twice as good. Again, if you actually use a phone. If you don’t really use your phone, the iPhone is great.

        • coLin

          Is this a joke? I had the Nexus 6P for a few days and I couldn’t get it to charge in the car while using Google Maps in navigation mode, while my iPhone charges just fine. It was showing that it’s charging but the battery percentage was going down. Shame!

          • Sounds like you need to take advantage of Google’s cross shipping replacement service. That’s not remotely normal. The 6P should be destroying your iPhone on battery.

  • William Kister

    I think it will add complexity to something that doesn’t need it.

  • James

    Just something else to eat at our already weak batteries. If forced on my with newer phones I hope there’s at least a way to turn it off

  • Rakesh

    Only i sheep’s will care about this not smart android guys.

    • mrochester

      Smart Android guys. Oxymoron surely?

    • coLin

      and Shamesung next year flagship

  • schahram

    I care, if they implement such feature into the entire system, which would help a much smarter usage of shortcuts and commands.

  • TJ

    Nope. Gimmicky. Back to the days of BB storm?

  • Diego

    come on everybody, lets find a way to hate on the technology.

  • Diego

    Me, I don’t comment until I try it out.

  • smokebomb

    So the exact same thing blackberry did with the storm and storm 2 is popular because apple did it? lol

  • Peter

    It works great on iPhone. On Android, especially when the feature is not named into AOSP and thought-through, it will most likely suck.

  • Tom Boss

    I think long press provides the same benefits without having to reprogram your motor functions. PS might be useful for artists, but shouldn’t they be working on a tablet or laptop? Maybe that’s were it would truly come in handy.

  • B4kken

    I think force touch is really cool. It’s a smart feature when it comes to navigation. I don’t like iPhones, but I had to try “3D touch” so I went to a store and felt it up. It is not a glorified long press, as some like to point out.

  • urbanpitch

    Don’t really… Care? It’s like long touch. That’s about it.

  • Trysta

    A pressure sensitive display is needed much more on iphones where apple has shoved so much functionality into a single physical home button (double tap, long press, triple click double click etc.). Android does not have this overloading button issue and android has true live widgets so I don’t think a pressure sensitive display is as necessary.

    IOS already has the issue of very inconsistent and difficult to discover 3D touch support. Can you imagine how much worse and how much longer that issue would persist on android?

  • Anothermuse

    I haven’t used force touch so maybe it would be something I love, but from a distance I don’t see it as a game changer of any type. Possibly useful though I can’t help feel it’s just an overengineered long touch. I guess when it’s on a lot of phones it will become a must have. For now I think gimmick but you never know what will tweak the masses.

    The real game changer I think will be advancing on the Droid Turbo shatterproof tech and of course, we all need magic batteries.

  • Mr_Meee

    I don’t really see that a hard press would be any different to using a long press to do something. Seems to be just a technologically complicated way of initiating a command when we already could do it before with a long press.

  • SamsaraGuru

    Another “EVOLUTIONARY, REVOLUTIONARY” gimmicky gimmick from Apple! Yawn.

  • Colby Simpson

    I can’t wait. This is one feature for me that I must have!

  • iOS was already 30-40 percent slower to use for basic tasks than Android. Adding a press and wait function just made it that much shittier.

  • Lora

    Not everyone has moist skin – mine’s drier & for me the pressure sensitivity is crucial, as I use my nails to get result here.