Opinion: Force Touch is a paradoxical complication in the world of sublime simplicity

by: Matthew BensonSeptember 10, 2015
2.1K

apple 3d touch

Far be it for me to go against the mainstream opinion, but I’m not quite sold on Apple’s Force Touch, or as it’s now being touted, “3D Touch.” The basic principal is simple: with some clever uses of pressure sensitivity, displays implementing the tech can detect three levels: a tap, a soft press, and a hard press. It’s actually pretty cool to be quite honest, though its use is questionable and it’s anything but intuitive.

Having spent a few weeks with the Apple Watch shortly after its release in April, my experiences with “the Force” was mixed at best. Now that Apple has sought to include it in this year’s iPhone series refresh, I feel the need to suggest why this “magical” new technology – while innovative – is actually less user-friendly than one might assume.

Watch the Force

Given the basic way in which we have been conditioned with touch-based interfaces, there is a certain degree of intuition and understanding that dictates the manner in which new products and UI are approached. Let’s consider the aforementioned Apple Watch. One of the most fundamental aspects of the product, and indeed one that Apple made quite visible from the first promotional video it was featured on during the unveiling last year, was the watch faces. Remember how everyone commented about the cute Mickey Mouse for example.

Imagine then, my utter confusion and almost panic, upon trying to change the default watch face. I couldn’t. Now please keep in mind that my experience with touch screens goes back to the early PDAs. (To this day my father still talks of the Die Another Day HP Jornada SP he reluctantly was talked into buying for me.) I know how touch works. Heck, I know how wearables work considering I’ve owned or tested every Android Wear and Tizen device released so far. And yet, that damn watch face.

iphone-6s-1Read: By the numbers: iPhone 6S vs the Android competition209

So confused I was, that I actually had to search the internet for a solution. And even more amazingly, at that point in time there was basically nothing. The only things that turned up back in late April for “how to change the watch face” were basically posts on the different faces. How do I change the freaking face. Then, out of some kind of bizarre stroke of luck or simply desperation, I pushed the screen. Hard. Ah ha! That’s the trick.

You see, I was making a major mistake: the Apple Watch’s face isn’t changed by holding down on the screen as you would think based on every other device you’ve ever used. No, it’s based on pressing the screen hardSuddenly I “got it”. Here’s the problem though: if I – as a person that lives, breathes, and thinks tech – couldn’t even fathom the most fundamental way to use Force Touch, how the freaking **** is any random person going to without going through the same process? And mind you, consider how many iPhone users probably still don’t know what Siri is, or how to activate it. Siri has been around since the 4S for crying out loud.

watch force touch

We’re using it wrong

Now I realize that for some people, even my experience will be seen as idiocy. “How could you not even know about Force Touch if you claim to be a techie?” or “What kind of moron wouldn’t know to try that.” Thing is, I actually did know about Force Touch long before I got the Apple Watch. Heck, I watched the launch event live when it happened. The problem is that the entire idea was absolutely so alien to the manner in which I have been conditioned to interact with devices for the past two decades, it basically slipped my mind.

Apple is a company that seeks to bring simplicity to those that subscribe to its scripture. It preaches dogma about a clean and easy to understand user interface and is safe for everyone from infants to the elderly to use without any real fear of doing damage to the OS or core files therein. How is it then, that Force Touch ever came about? How could a company that prides itself on “the basics” actually seek to develop and now widely integrate such an unnatural, un-intuitive manner of input into their products?

And yes, I do mean that. The learning curve is just far too steep. This isn’t something natural like pinch to zoom or multi-touch or gestures or anything else. This is having the user exert excessive physical force onto a glass panel in order to cause a functional reaction. Let’s think about that for a second. Chances are, you’ve tried at least once to press hard onto an LCD panel and have seen the distortion that ensues. Chances are equally likely that, in doing so, you worried it might be damaging the screen. Now stop for a second, consider the very prospect of Force Touch, and the notion of pressing into the glass. Harder.

apple 3d touch 3 2

Babies are being born

I have no doubt that people born in the era of the “Force” will never have the reservations that have been expressed in this piece. The problem is that there are several billion people who already inhabit the planet and many of them are pre-conditioned to using touch technology in a very specific way. Perhaps they will grow up and be taught that pressure isn’t the be-all-end-all way to break precision electronics.

It is actually quite cool, and honestly I am curious and eager to discover what ultimately becomes of the technology, especially given that some Android OEMs have already sought to make use of it (presumably before Apple’s patents have cleared in their country). Truth be told, after I learned just how to use Force Touch, it made me want to experiment with every app on the Apple Watch. It was, perhaps as Cupertino intends it to be, a “revolution” in terms of user interface interaction, to an extent at least.

Still, I am not without reservations. I occasionally “relapsed” during my time with the Apple Watch, forgetting that a hard press was needed to achieve a desired result. Call it my inability to properly integrate something new. Still, in my defense, I present over two decades of touch-based experience which has clouded my abilities.

Do it (like they do it on the Discovery Channel)

Perhaps the largest misgiving I have about the implementation of 3D Touch is the way in which apps will make use of it. As many have pointed out: there’s no real way to know. Well that’s not entirely true, not at all. By checking the update logs you can easily find out. The trouble, as this piece has argued: is this something the general public regularly does?

Like so many ambitious third party ad-ons and accessories, 3D Touch has the most fundamental flaw in not being present from day one. While this might work fine for future applications, it presents a very tangible, very possible layer of frustration to “re-learn” how to use software you thought you knew like the back of your hand. Because now, you need to know with the pad and pressure of your thumb.

iphone-6s-plus

While we may not have The Crawl to tip us off, the Force is definitely strong in these two siblings.

It’s quite clear what will occur after users get the hang of 3D Touch: they will start testing it out on every app at any given time and place to see if some magical result occurs; if some new window or deeper level of functionality is included. Heck, I sure started doing this with the Apple Watch, and consider for a second that device was launched with Force Touch yet still many developers haven’t made pervasive use of it.

While it may be somewhat of a stretch, I can also see a number of people who won’t even realize 3D Touch is a new implementation and thus start pounding down on their existing devices in a fruitless attempt to get the same reaction elsewhere. Including Apple’s brand new iPad Pro, which curiously lacks this supposedly game-changing level of interaction.

Why not hover (to cover)

One additional thing to consider with the new iPhones in particular, is Apple’s way of achieving the desired results. While I think most consumers like the idea of being able to preview “inside” apps without formally having to open them, the implementation – again – seems to be broken. Several of the hands-on videos of 3D Touch have offered a conundrum of sorts: users eager to hard press their way into app previews are making “mistakes” by taking off the pressure. In one case in particular, the individual successfully triggered the available quick options yet when he tried to press one, he erronously took his hand off the screen (thinking the menu was hard-set) and it disappeared.

Apple iPhone 6S material

The higher-grade metal didn’t cause iPhone 6s’ weight gain. Rather it was the hardware for 3D Touch.

Clearly, to use this new feature requires a heavy handed press and then slide as well. Again, is this natural? Let’s consider for a second that Samsung used to have a “hovering” feature on the Galaxy S series, itself taken from the S-Pen on the Galaxy Note product line. The idea was exactly the same: by placing your finger slightly over any given folder or file, you could view additional information or contents without any physical exertion whatsoever. You literally didn’t even need to touch the screen. Why couldn’t Apple have simply implemented this basic idea, especially given that the presence of the Taptic system needed for 3D Touch has resulted in a heavier iPhone.

Perhaps the best take-away from this forgotten Samsung solution is that it’s gone. Yes, hovering is no longer built into the Galaxy S line’s TouchWiz skin, and thus it would seem to imply, at the very least, that it wasn’t deemed relevant. Funny then, how Apple clearly feels the future of interaction is out in Force.

Wrap up

3D Touch, Force Touch, is clearly the product of a Post-Jobs Apple. In fact, it is actually difficult to imagine Mr. Jobs ever conceiving of “the Force” even if some might argue his brilliant exuberance was clearly the product of Midi-chlorians. Considering this man was opposed to a modern reinterpretation of the classic stylus, would he have ever initiated or signed-off on such a deceptively complex dimension of user interaction?

Indeed, I do wonder just how the general public will receive these new iPhones. The Apple Watch, while wildly profitable, is still a very niche product. Likewise, even the MacBooks that make use of Force Touch are catering to a more limited audience given the monopoly the Personal Computer still has in market share. Perhaps those who use one or both product categories will have no reservations or problems whatsoever with the iPhone 6S’ 3D Touch. It would make sense given they are pre-conditioned and have already been required to “relearn” touch.

I suspect however, that what might actually happen is a massive majority of iPhone users will unpack their shiny new device and either not realize it has 3D Touch, not understand what 3D Touch is, or – like me – know of it but not actually process the idea of using it. Assuming Apple’s utilization of the feature in connection with operation is limited or complementary at best, perhaps those who are none the wiser won’t know what they’re missing.

On the other hand, if Force Touch is heavily integrated, or even worse, if third party developers start making heavy use of it, there is a massive potential for a massive backlash of people who are complaining about “broken” or “malfunctioning” or “glitchy” hardware and software when, to paraphrase the late and dear Steve Jobs, they’re just not using it right.

  • Jay

    As an Android user, I’m genuinely embarrassed to see the complete misunderstanding of 3D Touch and labelling it “the same as Long Press which Android had years ago hahahaha!!!!”

    It’s an incredible achievement, and it’s at the very beginning. Once developers get a hold of it, it will be even better.

    Yes there will be a learning curve, but seriously everyone, this kind of innovation provides COMPETITION which is GOOD.

    • 3D Touch is in Android sdk since Eclair. Developers knew about it, checked it and decided it’s counter intuitive and therfore didn’t implement it in their aps. Maybe with iPhone it will be different. Time will show.

      • Gepstra

        At least Apple shows people how it can be useful. I have never had a device from Apple but I always watch their keynotes and I could see the potential of 3d touch.

        Implementation is the key word at Apple.

      • Matt

        Having it built into a sdks, and having a display that can support it are two very different things.

  • Straynart

    I can’t understand why everyone is surprised by this 3D Touch, since we already have something similar time ago on most of our Android device.
    In the Developper Option, we have the Pointer Location. When activated, it shows X & Y positions, but also Prs and Size.
    Prs is for the pressure, which shows us how strong we push the screen.
    And for Size, it’s the size of our touches.
    If the Prs is always 1, then the phone can’t know if you push hard or not, but if it’s not always 1, then, your phone knows how strong you force the screen.

    With this, you can use Force Touch Detector, in the xPosed Installer to use a totally different way to use your phone.
    For me, I use my flat thumb to go back. a double flat tap to kill app, a flat swype up to return on the home screen, etc…
    If the Prs can’t be read, then you can still use the Size of the pointer to do the same.

    Enjoy, share and excuse my english, I’m french..=þ

    • Wudien

      Ftd… merci

      • David

        Well, technically it has 256 degrees of pressure sensitivity with the S-Pen…

        • Wudien

          Actually yeah. It detexts pressure when using the pen but not my finger

    • Basit Saeed

      Holy shit! Let’s hope somebody make an Xposed module for it :D

    • gg

      ‘3D touch’ was indeed already implemented into Android (since API level 5) in 2009 but was never used because it was not practical to press harder to show-up a dedicated menu or execute a dedicated function; instead developers chose for the press-and-hold approach.

      • John Doe

        Well if Google Patented it, maybe they can sue the living shit out of Apple .. (for once) ..lol

        • Saurav Singh

          Yeah it was there on iPhone OS 1

    • I never really noticed that! Thanks for the info

    • Kishore Venktesh

      I just checked out what you mentioned, but its not the same. The “pressure” here refers to F/Area of finger. It sets a base value of F which is always constant and the area of the finger touching the screen is what matters.

    • Gibbs

      My note 4 doesn’t support that! its always 1.0. But wait for apple to sue android! and hauwei (i actually wouldn’t blame them for huawei one)

    • tiger

      As someone wrote below, “Having it built into a sdks, and having a display that can support it are two very different things.”

  • Yeah_Whatever..

    This really is a case of just because you can do a thing it doesn’t mean you should. I agree that its nothing special, and indeed android could do it for years, but devs just chose not to use it.

    Its basically an extension to gestures, which have also not really taken off like some had hoped. The problem is not everyone likes gestures and not everyone has the same definition of a hard press, or soft press. Even calibrating it to the individual doesn’t work that well.

    Frankly I dislike the direction everything is going. Not only have they killed hard buttons (which are the most accurate and tactile interface), but they are now killing soft keys and menus. I dont see this as progress, its technology for the sake of it.

    It seems like Apple have really run out of ideas, they are now implementing things no one else would, because they havent got anything else to offer.

    • Wudien

      I can’t live without gestures, via gmd gesture control in the play store. You can assign any command you want. Even Tasker tasks… it’s epic. Force touch would open up a world of new gestures, especially 1 finger actions.

      • Yeah_Whatever..

        and thats fine if you like them, but they aren’t really catching on. They aren’t intuitive, they’re something else you have to learn and aren’t consistent across platforms or even models of the same brand.

        • Wudien

          It’s an app. It can be installed on any android device 4.2 and up iirc.

          Smart gestures in force touch will make phone use more efficient and less time consuming.

          • Yeah_Whatever..

            I know, but its only good if you like gestures.

    • tiger

      4k displays with limp processor…oh yeah, far more useful!!!

  • SamsaraGuru

    Great title for the article; beautiful photos illustrating it and whomever your hand model was they have a future in that profession (Yes, there are such things as hand models who get well paid for holding things people buy in their beautiful hands as part of a pretty picture!). Well written, common sense article as well.

    Apple is, as are all the OEMs, eager to have differentiating hot button sales hooks they can point to that will make their ever growing less special iPhones more special. Apparently, Microsoft’s mistake of assuming, as it did with Windows 8, that just because they thought everyone would find useful the features they felt they should – despite the fact the world didn’t – was lost on them.

    When Steve Jobs departed it began the beginning of the end for Apple and despite the fact its ship continues – like a humongous oil tanker – to continue under the momentum left over from the reign of that famously capricious, not very nice at all person, Steve Jobs, it is slowing down and down and ultimately be still in the water.

    Jobs was a genius. No one would dispute that fact, but he was the type of genius and Level 4 leader – see Jim Collins book Good to Great. Jobs didn’t like to share the spotlight; didn’t cultivate loyalty as much as inspired fear through intimidation and had no compunction about mortifying in front of their coworkers any he deemed to have failed him. Such as he don’t leave truly able geniuses as protégés to follow, because to cultivate strong people would mean they would have to share the spotlight.

    Tim Cook is an able executive but “creative genius” is not something I think anyone would suggest is to be found on his resume.

  • KapteinStein

    Force touch isn’t new!! I had a Samsung omnia windows mobile phone back in 2009 with a resistive touch screen. That means I had to press my finger into the screen rather than touch lightly. It was horrible! What is apple thinking? Haha

    • TheDude

      that is not the same… its not even close…
      On the resistive screen it didn’t work unless you held hard.
      On the “force touch” thingy it works as a normal capactive touch screen but has additional functionality when pressed harder.

      • KapteinStein

        No it was exactly the same! Duh!

        • tiger

          STFU little girl.

    • Erik

      This comment is so far off that I’m really not sure if you understand the difference between resistive touch and multi-touch with force touch. You should head over to Wiki and do some serious reading before leaving a comment on something so simple as mainstream technology.

      • KapteinStein

        So you’re not sure if I’m sure!? Who cares!! Haha you’re a moron!!

    • tiger

      You’re an idiot. Typical Android ignorant.

      • KapteinStein

        Haha, you’re mom is a whore!

        • tiger

          Yeah, but that does not change the fact that you’re still a dumbass bitch.

  • Wudien

    3d touch + jailbreak = shortcuts galore. This is awesome. Meanwhile force touch detector exists on xposed, thanks straynart

  • Chetan Grandhe

    worst feature ever made by crapple

    • tiger

      You mean 4k displays powered by limp processor is better?

  • theemptyhead

    Force touch are used in japanese smartphone that are made for old aged people whose eyesight is bad so that they won’t click everywhere mistakely…..every options and menus are big and simple and when it’s force touched it will vibrate. They are called “raku raku smartphone” in japan.

  • Jason Brian Chapa

    I had some of the same thoughts when I first saw this. There’s nothing intuitive about this. For a company that prides itself on keeping things simple, they’re introducing a feature that is far from simple. The iPhone users I encounter are far from tech savvy. They’ll stumble upon a soft or hard press function and not realize how they did it.

    • peerpressure

      That’s for sure. My wife’s parents are both in their 70s, and even after three years of iphones, they are still sometimes clueless on how basic things function. I can’t even imagine what this will do to them

    • D C

      Or activate it because they are angry with their device and press really hard.

      • Loogle

        I could see why android users would fear that but iPhones are amazingly responsive, in the 3 I’ve owned the only time I’ve had to get rough with my presses is when my screen protector bubbles…now my android tablet on the other hand, I’ve wanted to hard press with my FIST on more than a few occasions.

    • dcdttu

      I’ve read that the biggest complaint about the tech so far is the fact that you have no idea what app has been updated to use the feature, so you’re pressing all over the screen to see what happens because it’s not a guarantee you’ll get an app with any 3D Touch features.

      • abazigal

        Does nobody read app update logs anymore?

        • dcdttu

          I’m pretty sure that trying each app to see what happens would be far easier. :-)

    • AdolfOliverBush

      Can’t be much worse than multi finger swipes…I forget about those all the time and I’m sort of tech savvy, though I did take my iPhone to an Apple Store one day when I musta accidentally 3 finger swiped and enlarged the screen so big I couldn’t swipe my lock screen open..I was at work and had no way to look up what I had done, luckily the Apple Store was on my way home but I felt dumb as rocks when the genius fixed it in like 2 seconds (which was good since I couldn’t even make a reservation without unlocking my phone first.

    • tiger

      The Android users i encountered (mostly poor folks) are far from being tech savvy.

      Want to talk tech with me? I might embarrass you.

  • hoggleboggle

    I thought Huawei did a better job at selling this tech than Apple with more imaginative uses that essentially illustrate it as little more than a pimped longpress

    • abazigal

      Yeah, because people have always wanted to be able to weigh oranges on their smartphones?

  • Great!

    But is actually “3D Touch” now.

  • ichuck7

    Well said. I like your honesty. This is the same reason why android got rid of the menu button. Having a hidden menu that users have to guess about is not good UI. I think I watched a review of the apple watch and the biggest coming was that there was no way to predict when to use force touch. It was just a guessing game and sometimes force touch did somethung and sometimes not. I agree that I cringe at the idea of people pressing HARD on their screen. I’m all for innovation but this seems like innovation for no good reason.

    • dcdttu

      I wonder if the smartphone is so mature that it’s going to be hard to really innovate in this space for a while?

    • tiger

      Yet, in 2016, all Android will have 3D Touch…and all Android fanboys will clamor for it.

      Just like fingerprint scanner…when TouchID came out, Android fanboys damned it…now, it is a must-have.

      Here’s a thought…STFU because you guys are embarrassing yourself.

      • ichuck7

        Maybe you should try not being so negative. You might find your life improves. I say it because I used to be angry and blasting people and that negativity didn’t make me any happier. Just a thought.

      • ichuck7

        And no, I’m not an android fan boy. I’ve owned 8 iPhones and I will tell you it’s a good phone; it’s just not for me. I had a fingerprint scanner on my motorola atrix back in 2011. It was more of a gimmick back then. That’s what apple does. They take ideas and raise the bar with them. They rarely create new ideas anymore, just make them more user friendly.
        And as far as “ALL” android fan boys, I didn’t use touch ID on my iPhone 6 plus and I don’t use it on my Note 5.

  • Anothermuse

    I’m sure I’m missing something, but is there a substantial difference between force touch and a long press? Other than an extra layer of sensors? Apple usually does things well, but I do agree that this seems to add a layer of complication that doesn’t really seem as though it’s needed. I do picture a lot of impatient people banging the screen with their finger because they don’t know what or why to use this.

    • D C

      Outside of having multiple triggers for different touch pressures there isn’t really a difference in using either gesture as another actionable trigger. What you 3D touch can be triggered just as easily by a long press. The thing is long press has been historically assigned to other functions so devs might not want to switch what long press is currently used for and opt for another gesture to trigger an action.

  • Ignacio Guerendiain

    What did you have before coming up with that awesome title? :D

    • LOL you should have seen the ones that I didn’t use.

  • Kiss my Asthma

    Just wait till Samsung implements it next year, because unfortunately that’s what Samsung has come down to, copying every Apple feature blindly whether it’s good or bad.

    • ahoxha

      Apple pencil.

      • KeyserSoze

        Hehe right on! iSurface Pro… bwahahahaha!

        • Ant

          iSurface Pro Note 5

      • dcdttu

        That’s what Apple is good at: taking features from other devices and technology and developing them until they’re compelling enough to purchase on their own. Samsung’s stylus is ok, but that pencil really pushed the technology forward to the point that it was worth buying.

        • k4ever

          That is the biggest load of crap I have heard today. You really jump the Shark trolling on that one! Tell us how an old style pressure activated pencil (Apple Pencil), with a battery in it (LOL!), is better than the S-Pen (Samsung Pen), which doesn’t need a battery and uses a wacom digitizer? There is not even a place on your iPad to put the Apple Pencil and it cost $99! Talk about a rip off! The S-Pen slides into the device and is free. If you lose your S-Pen, it only cost $35-40 to replace it.

          • dcdttu

            Tell you how it’s better? Maybe just go to apple.com? It’s there.

            (huge Android fan, btw. Just being honest here)

          • The-Sailor-Man

            iBS
            ROTFL
            You iboys are restless:)

          • Ant

            “until they’re compelling enough to purchase on their own.”

        • The-Sailor-Man

          How could Apple Pencil be better than non-battery S-Pen, based on Wacom and thousands of pressure levels??? Are you insane.
          And yes, Samsung fingerprint scanner is better implementation that Apple, because It’s on thinner bezels.
          And yes, Samsung Pay is better implementation that Goole Wallet, and Apple Pay, because works on all terminals.
          So, as you say, not who is first is important . Right?

      • Roy

        Only more strong than the S pen.

  • Mark Kendrick

    As an iOS and Android user I found the keynote interesting, I felt no excitement towards the iPhone for the first time. 3D touch doesn’t seem to be intuitive at all, just like on the watch. You have to play hide and seek with the feature to see where it works. Your finger seems to be in the way of some of the views, it looks like a TouchWiz feature I’ve used. I think this Apple announcement has set me on a path to buy only one phone this year, the Note 5. (you never know could be more than one 12 months is a long time to wait for the next shiny object)

    • tiger

      Wait, i find your comment quite contradicting…you mentioned how 3D Touch is like TouchWiz feature (in a bad way)………….and then at the end, you will get TouchWiz galore Note 5! LOL

      That is downright stupid statement.

      • Mark Kendrick

        I didn’t mean it in a bad way, i actually prefer the newer TouchWiz over other skins I’ve seen. I’ve seen Apple’s ‘innovative” feature before in other phones, 3D touch is implemented in a different way than say the Note line where you use the s-pen. I feel that Apple is just playing catch up, also $99 for the apple pencil to work with your $1000 tablet (should be included.)

        • tiger

          What is so exciting about Note 5 vs. other Notes? Lets get technical here…since you’re dev.

          Lets see: (comparing iPhone 6s with 6)
          – 6s has near desktop quality processor…literally…it is so much faster than last year iPhone 6 (which was no slouch), esp in graphics (again, you being develoer!). Note 5 even with 8 cores cannot keep up.
          – 6s case is over 2x stronger…and glass apparently better (prob GG4).
          – 3D Touch…a whole new world of interaction for devs to play with…gaming, productivity, etc.
          – Camera that should rival the best of Android, if not beat it, if not for the sheer simplicity of taking a good picture every single time by even a kid.
          – TouchID is now 2x faster…again, TouchID is the best right now…so being 2x faster is quite a feat.

          Again, what is so special about Note5 vs. other Notes? Processor? Nope…thanks to the high-resolution (for no special purpose than marketing), the processor cannot power it adequately resulting in major frame drops or lag during gaming or any quick animations. TouchWiz is famous for slowing down to a halt after a few months use…requiring total system reset! No SD. No removable battery. The last two takes away 2 major benefit of Samsung over iPhones.

          About the only thing that is good on Note5 is the display…but you saw that already last year.

          So, again, your statement(s) makes no damn sense.

          • Mark Kendrick

            Many comments don’t make sense to straight up fan boys of either OS, so I’m not surprised in this case either. I’ll address most of your comments then call it a morning, breakfast awaits. 1) Both Note 5 and iPhone have great processors for my usage. 2) the case needs to be stronger my co-workers banana shaped 6+ proves that. 3) 3D touch is similar to Samsung hover or the old Android long press 4) Apple had to step up the camera because the camera in my 6+ lost just about every camera shootout last year. 5) i don’t care how fast touchID is it doesn’t work through gloves so i don’t use it. As far as the Note 5 compared to the other Note phones there are only a few upgrades. 1) The processor is better than last years 2) the camera is better, same as the one that was rated better than my iPhones 3) I restart all of my phones (not reset) and that keeps all of them running smoothly (i also never keep a phone longer than a year) 4) faster wired charging and fast wireless charging 5) write and save a note without having to fire up the entire phone and open an app. I hope this helped you understand a bit. I like the iPhone but I’ve found some uses for the productivity features in the Note that the iPhone can’t compete on. I use my devices more for work, music and photos than playing games. i know the 6S will take great photos and is a great music device but this year the Note will be my phone. I will revisit my device decision again a year from now when the Note 6 and iPhone 7 are announced.

          • tiger

            1. No, there is no comparison b/w the processor…one is light years ahead of the other. Maybe you will know…do you know how many instructions set / cycle can Note 5 processor do? Do you know how many iPhone processor can do…even if you use A7 chip from 2 yrs ago? Processor is very important to ANY developer. What a dev can do with this A9 chip will be boundless!

            2. Yet, in all testings under lab conditions to rule out other variables, iPhones bend like everyone else, no worst, no better. See Galaxy S6 horrid results.

            3. 3D Touch is NOT similar. Remember, there are THREE levels of interactions.

            4. Really…who did 6+ lose to?

            5. You wear gloves everyday? LOL

            Again, the innovation on 6s is far more than Note 4 to 5. So, your statement again makes no sense. That’s my point.

            As a developer, you SHOULD see this instead of me pointing it out to you. But, again, this is an Android fanboy site…so, i can see how someone like you will be blinded through ignorance.

          • Mark Kendrick

            You’re kidding me the 6+ lost to the Note 4 and the GS6. As far as gloves go I work for a living, so I often use them year round. It also gets freaking cold from November to March in NM, so once again I do wear gloves a lot. I guess you’re right when your that far behind you really need a big jump. We will never agree but the difference is I’m a fan of Android and iOS and will continue to evaluate them year by year. Who knows after awhile of using the Note I may decide it isn’t for me and buy the 6S+.

          • coldspring22 .

            What’s to brag about iphone 6S durability? See any drop test on youtube, and see how easily iphone 6S screen is shattered. Also watch how easily iphone 6S glass screen gets scratched by sand regardless of Apple touting “improved” glass screen. Nope no improvement in durability here. Check out Shatter sheild on Droid Turbo 2 to see how real innovation is done.

          • tiger

            Droid T2 screen is plastic! LOL

            Hey i am sure that my eye glasses won’t shatter like RayBan…it must be better, right?

            6s uses Gorrilla 4, which is what all Android with real glass display will be using next round. Glass scratches with sand all day.

            You think Droid plastic crap won’t scratch??

            Durability is with the case…has nothing to do with the glass. Dumbass.

          • coldspring22 .

            Wrong about the Camera. Check Dxomark.com has iphone 6s, 6 and 6plus coming in at 9th, 10th and 11th. Before you go ranting about how biased Dxomark is, they had iphone as best mobile camera not long ago. Android smart phone camera have simply leap frogged Apple iphone.

          • coldspring22 .

            Nope iphone 6S does not have near desktop quality processor (not unless you are using antiquidated desktop from 10 years ago). Gee, intel core i7 quad core processor (not deca core server processor mind you) has geek bench multi-core score of 15,000. what does iphone A9 processor have? 4400? Yea real similar. Like comparing tiny pebble to giant boulder. How about single core score where A9 is supposed to excel? Intel core i7 quad core has score of 5080. Yea A9 comes real close with just 2500, like only 50%. Bottom line – smart phone processor can never compare with desktop processors which is not limited by die size or power consumption.

          • tiger

            Are you an idiot by nature or just act like one? Why not compare to i5? or Intel M?

  • Reed

    As others have said, this tech already exists in modern Android phones. It’s not really utilized, but your device can detect the amount of pressure you use.

  • mrochester

    I think 3D Touch is one of those things that is nice to have, but isn’t necessarily a must have feature, or certainly, you would still be able to get by without ever knowing it was there. Much like pressing and holding on the screen to move icons around the home screen (which is a unified principle across all of the three major platforms) isn’t remotely intuitive or instinctive and most people probably live without ever rearranging their home screens as a result.
    I believe Apple’s style and design guidelines will probably take care of what functionality can and can’t live under 3D Touch; this isn’t Android, iOS is a well thought out and designed operating system and ecosystem, not the wild west of software development where anything goes.

  • Ertugrul Kahramanli

    Lost my temper at the voting option about Apple Suing Huawei. LOL.

  • Gay Hermit

    YET, every Android ( especially Samesung) will have this feature within the next 12 months – just like the fingerprint scanner.

    • Weneklek

      haha i already am anticipating a sneak attack from samsung very soon.

    • KeyserSoze

      Where have you been? Android already has force-touch, even before Apple unveiled theirs.

    • dcdttu

      TouchID wasn’t the first implementation of a fingerprint scanner. Far from it. Motorola had it years before and the Nexus 6 was going to have it until Apple bought the company they were using to implement it. That company was the only one with technology advanced enough to make it work well. It wasn’t Apple that invented it, they bought it. Apple’s It was just the first one that really worked well. That’s what Apple is good at. They take (or buy) existing technology and develop it to the point that it’s compelling in its own right. A lot of Android manufacturers just throw stuff on their phones and hope it works, but it ends up being a gimmick. Apple doesn’t do that, but they also don’t invent a lot of this technology either.

      • Roy

        “Apple’s It was the first one that really worked well” you s said evrything.

      • tiger

        Moto Atrix was a joke. TouchID is not.

        TouchID also PROPERLY encrypts fingerprints.

    • Gibbs

      they already have that.

  • teomor

    I can’t imagine what it would be good for, except maybe games (but even so, I’d prefer swiping my finger up and down to controll speed, rather than pressing on the screen). Other than that, the same things can be done with long press…

  • diogo

    It’s interesting. But I quite like the normal methods: 1 tap, 2 taps, long press.

  • Great Article. I too was a little skeptical about how well it would take off, considering majority of iPhone users are not as tech-savvy. Let’s give it a year or two and maybe, just maybe, it would become a tad bit easier to use for everyone

    • Sherpa

      Why do people keep saying that “majority of iPhone users are not as tech-savvy” when that is true with any phone. You think most of those people in 3rd world countries who buy cheaper Android phones are tech-savvy? You think most of the people in developed countries (esp. US) who buy subsidized Android phones (for close to $0) are tech-savvy? Nope! The only reason they buy Android devices is it is cheaper for them. Same goes for $0 or $99 iPhone. I have three friends (Android users) and I always have to show them how to do something on there.

      • That is why I said “Not as tech savvy”.

        • tiger

          I would say that MOST Android folks are idiots just like those on iOS.

    • tiger

      Android users are tech savvy?

      Ahmad, you want to talk tech to me? I just might embarrass you….

      • You wanna act like a 12 year old know-it-all? Be my guest

        • tiger

          Scared? Here i thought that i have finally found a tech savvy Android fanboy…i stand corrected.

  • KeyserSoze

    Apple tries hard to make you believe that force-touch is this revolutionary must-have tech. The reality is force-touch doesn’t solve any severe pain points for users so if you have it on your phone fine, if not no big loss. A far more intuitive feature that should be implemented is double-tap, just like double-click on a desktop OS. Why the hell don’t we have THAT already? Get on it Google and Apple!

  • dcdttu

    I think that Android was originally made a bit too complicated, and it could do a lot. Updates to Android simplified the user experience and made those powerful features easier to use. The iPhone was the opposite. It was made a bit too simple, and recent efforts to add in complicated features without ruining the simple UI or copying Android (or other mobile OSs) has been difficult for them. Take the Control Center in iOS. You get it with a simple swipe up, right? No, wrong. Anyone who’s used an iPhone will tell you that feature takes a miracle to get it to pop up in certain situations, especially if you have the keyboard on the screen. Another example is intents/sharing. That was built right into Android from day 1, and current versions are simplifying that process and making it elegant. iOS, on the other hand, is just getting this ability, and it shows. Apps have to be updated to support it, and this isn’t happening very fast.

    The iPhone’s new features are getting less and less intuitive because they’re trying to keep their original, simple UI while also trying to compete with Android. It’s obviously much easier to simplify Android than it is to complicate iOS.

  • “some Android OEMs have already sought to make use of it” Force touch is not an Apple only invention… More than a year ago, Qeexo revealed their Finger sense technology too

  • HotelQuebec

    It’s a silly gimmick for long press menu selection that requires more physical effort making it worse for one handed use.

  • The-Sailor-Man

    AA again make this Apple’s “magic” popular(even hidden behind so-so negative article). All other tech media do the same – positive or negative doesn’t matter.

    And we remember how two years AA and other tech media ignored the one-hand operation on Note.
    NO WORD!!!!
    First time they mentioned it, was when iPhone 6 Plus came with that “reachability” joke. Of course they didn’t miss to write hundreds of articles about that “reachability” joke, and some of them mentioned for the first time somehow, the great one-hand function on Note.
    Then you guys ask, how Apple manage to make every BS popular. Apple do nothing. All is done by the huge menial propaganda

  • iFool

    3D probably stands for 3 Deep.(not 3 dimensional) There are 3 levels of force. No body has ever mentioned it. But I am guess that is what it is.
    Gimmicky name is designed to make you think it is more than it is.

    • tiger

      Do you even know what 3D means? Once you understand that, then you will see that Apple name is appropriate.

      Shake my *beeping* head…you are a fool alright…damn Android fool.

      Next time, use that little brain of yours to THINK BEFORE commenting.

  • John Doe

    Apple is running out of new tech, and had to come up with this useless idea .. oh and a $100 stylus ..
    And an over grown iPad .. I would have been more interested if they had ditched the iOS and given it OSx
    Now I could actually have gone for a 12.9″ OSx iPad …

    • The-Sailor-Man

      over grown iPad .. is clumsily copy of Note Pro 12.2″

      • coldspring22 .

        Although Apple may try to peddle it as laptop replacement for professionals, Ipad pro may lacking professional applications and simple functionality such as expandable storage may hinder it in professional space. Also Apple implementation of pencil is inferior to Wacom stylus. Apple fanboys will definitely buy it in droves, but I am not sure it will gain wider acceptance among regular shoppers as huge tablet is not only expensive, but also less wieldy and not as portable as smaller ipads.

        • tiger

          Apple Pencil inferior to Wacom? You are pretty damn stupid.

    • tiger

      Oh yes, Apple is running out of ideas…here is Android with their 4K display and limp processors powering it………

      • John Doe

        It is not Android with the 4k displays! It is the phone manufacturers, Android is just the OS .. not sure how you would have missed that?? Nice try tho ..
        And the idea of Force Touch has already been used on Android phones before Apple decided to include it in the new 6s. If I am not mistaken it is already included in Android’s code, but not used.

  • diazea

    So I downloaded this app on my LG G3 called “Force Touch” that demonstrates the API that already existed in Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.casual_dev.forcetouch)

    Here is the thing. It DEFINITELY measures my touch pressure (has a readout of pressure exerted) and I don’t have a special screen. So its NOT just a simple hold or right click equivalent as people are saying. Its a true measure of force. Is the Apple version just more sensitive due to specialized hardware as well? What am I missing here because as far as I can tell its the same thing.

    • The-Sailor-Man

      So if the menial media make(as usual) this Apple’s BS very popular brainwashing the ppl. Android OEMs don’t even need to “copy” the next apple’s “magic”.
      Simply the app-developers if find good selling point in it, could dig into API and implement it in their apps , browsers and such.

    • abazigal

      I think Force Touch is a very specific combination of software and hardware. The ability to sense pressure together with taptic engine.

      My guess is that it works the same but will “feel different”. Only question is whether this differentiation will matter to customers. Apple evidently felt it was crucial enough to warrant spending 3 years working on this feature.

      • diazea

        Agree….No way they spend so much R&D on just an API. Guess if I ever get curious enough to stop into the lemming I mean Apple store in the future and touch one I will see first hand. As a new interaction in GUI design it will surely have growing pains and at first glance looks like a bad idea. But who knows in the future it may become a THING.

        • coldspring22 .

          Yes I tried 3D touch myself on iphone 6S plus. It’s surprisingly difficult to use and get hang of.

          • tiger

            because you’re retarded?

            I hate liars….

  • Gibbs

    If it clicked like the macbook (or like a trackpad) i would throw my phone out of the window and run like hell to the nearest apple store!

  • Laksamana

    I wasn’t really bought into the idea of Force Touch especially when seeing Huawei’s implementation which doesn’t really seem to be that useful, too gimmicky instead of being a really useful feature. But when I saw the video of 3D Touch i was genuinely intrigued of the possibility of its use especially if it’s developed as integral part of both hardware and software.

    However your writing did provide a new perspective on it being ‘non intuitive’; never thought of that way. I know there will be some learning curve to it but I’m not sure it will be as dramatic a change as you portrayed it to be. I won’t take your word as final until I’ve managed to handle it myself.

    Speaking of which, instead of implementing totally ‘new’ haptic gesture of handling our smartphones, I felt the manufacturers, underwhelmingly, have yet to fully explore the use of multi-touch outside of just pinch to zoom. Apple did actually expanded the use of the multi-touch gestures (but still limited use) on their iPad and MacBook mousepad (eg 3-finger swipe for alt tab, 5-finger swipe to turn off screen) but stop short of developing it further (understably Apple). The Apple (limited) multi-touch experience had thankfully led me to GMD Gesture Control app whereby you can FULLY CUSTOMIZE multi-touch gestures, which had now arguably become the sole reason why I would root my Android device whenever I got one (second is for Titanium Backup Pro). You’ll be surprised how much usefulness you get with the multi-touch gesture even on a smartphone relatively small screen.

    So instead of gawping and fighting on how hard you pressed your screen, maybe we should push the manufacturers and developers to really put a spotlight and develop further the multi-touch gesture; the feature that’s already at the top of our fingertips (pun intended) all this while.

    Peace.

  • tiger

    So, let me guess this straight…3D Touch is gimmick…BUT 2K and 4K displays are not? Especially when those devices with these 2K and 4K displays do NOT even have a processor that can drive it adequately?!

    And then this article editor has trouble with using Apple Watch Force Touch…uhhhhh, did you even see the Apple presentation PRIOR to pre-ordering/buying it? Hell, if you’re too damn dense, then Apple even made a little OWNER’S MANUAL on the net to TEACH you. I am not a tech blogger like this editor, but i knew about Force Touch the very first minute i turned on the Watch.

    Sheeps are everywhere apparently, quite prevalent in Android land too!

    This article reeks of stupidity….

  • Lee H

    At another blog, there was a (similar) heated discussion about 3D/Force Touch… The views are scattered as they are here but the simple reality is… Apple went as far as to implement a technology that they (may have or may have not) created that is at best, a mere step in a direction that is still miles behind the S Pen. I am not a Samsung fanatic, rather someone that appreciated true innovation. What 3D Touch brings to the table, is far from game changing. The S Pen however brings a whole new level of productivity and interactivity on the device. I’m going to leave this at that, just wanted to bring a different viewpoint to the discussion.

    Keep in mind, I’m all for competition. But the way Apple operates is in a way that makes it difficult for me to appreciate. Acquiring tech and marketing as their own should not be praised. Other companies that actually do bring new offerings through creativity and high levels of R&D should be getting credit more. Like, mentioned previously about the Touch ID. Apple had no hand in the development of it but have zero shame in taking all the credit. It’s bullshit.

    • coldspring22 .

      Motorola had finger print sensor on their flagship phone Atrix 2 years before iphone. Now, Motorola again beats Apple with Shatter shileld on Droid Turbo 2. Watch any video on youtube comparing drop test of iphone vs Droid turbo 2 to appreciate the difference this makes. Motorol Shatter shield is a true innovation breakthrough.

      • tiger

        You are comparing TouchID to the crap that was on Atrix?

        Motorola uses PLASTIC display. That is not innovation. That is using cheap shit.

  • John

    No matter what Apple does, no matter how much they innovate, they’re always going to be shouted down by Android Fanboys because they think the phones are overpriced and have inferior specs.

    I can tell you right now that I switched from an iPhone 5S to a Note 5, and the keyboard is sluggish as hell compared to it. I made a big effort to disable a ton of bloatware and unused features such as S Voice. No matter what I do I can’t get the keyboard on this 4GB quad core Beast to be as responsive as my two year old iPhone. Third party keyboards be damned, and I can’t Root my device either because it’s the Verizon variant.

    If Google and Motorola developed 3D touch, it would be hailed as the greatest innovation since the capactive touchscreen. The truth is a lot of people don’t care about specs and just want a responsive phone, and no, I don’t want to have to root or extensively tweak my device to get one.

    Android phones coming out next year will probably have their own version of 3D touch, and thats great. It’s great for everyone especially app developers. You should be applauding Apple’s innovation because it helps the industry as a whole.

    Both Google and Apple inspire and learn from each other all the time. Fanboys wars must be a millennial thing, because it’s really childish to dismiss a great thing just because it’s made by a company that you don’t like. Grow up.

  • Tate

    Long press on an internet photo on the iphone, then long press on an internet photo on an android, there like night and day!!!!! Iphone does diddly squat a couple of things, the androids list is a mile long and grows as your apps increase. Hence the its a revoultion on the iphone as its been so restricted for so long.

  • Tommi

    Long press on an iphone an internet pic, a few short list comes up, long press the same pic on android a list a mile long comes up. Long press on an internet web site like in armando ferriar videos show apple iphone is useless in the website, but on the long press in android it shows you a list a mile long what do you want to do, msg this site email this site navigate to there shop, a list a mile long. Apple needs force touch as long press like every other thing apple does is useless, bluetooth butchered of half its capabilities, nfc butchered of half its capabilities, and long press butchered to now mimmick long press in android and give it a magical name ,all to sell a few more phones