What is Apple's "Force Touch?"

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, August 21, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Apple's Force Touch
After it was reported that Apple may integrate its latest trackpad technology with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the interest in the company's next iPhone variant just got a major boost.

The new feature will detect the force of a tap and responds differently to variations in pressure on the iPhone screen. The technology, which involves something called haptic feedback, is known as Force Touch, and it's already being used in the new MacBook.

Force Touch
Apple has described Force Touch as the "most significant new sensing capability" since it included Multi‑Touch in older MacBook laptops.

Apart from the usual gestures (like scrolling, swiping, and pinching), the Force Touch trackpad has a customisable feature aptly titled Force Touch. Users can adjust the feature's sensitivity, so that the pressure needed to register a click is determined by them. Force Touch can even tell whether the user is clicking with your their or another finger and auto-adjusts to the sensitivity level.

Force Sensors
The Force Touch trackpad does not actually move when pressed. It has "Force sensors" under its four corners, and they detect subtle differences in the amount of pressure you apply, according to Apple, making it possible to perform a variety of different functions in different apps. Force sensors not only detect user's click, but also move the trackpad laterally toward them, mimicking the downward motion of a trackpad.

Haptic Feedback
The Force Touch trackpad responds to user's taps and presses with haptic feedback technology that they can actually feel. Haptic feedback allows the trackpad to recreate of the sense of touch by simulating vibrations and other motions, meaning it'll let users feel a click on the trackpad, even though the trackpad isn't actually moving downward when clicked.

Haptic feedback is made possible due to Taptic Engine.

Taptic Engine
Taptic Engine is a small device attached to the back of the trackpad. It mimics the downward motion (or physical depression) of a trackpad by tapping back in the opposite direction of the user's click, thus simulating the physical movement, and fooling them into thinking the trackpad is moving. A traditional trackpad doesn't do any this but instead has a diving board mechanism underneath, and that's what moves downward and clicks.

Here are some examples about how to use the Force Touch trackpad:

Force Click
The new Force sensors detect more than one type of click (i.e., a light click can perform one action, while a harder click can perform another, and users are able to adjust how hard of a press is needed for any type of action), but a hard press that they continue to press is something that Apple has dubbed Force click. Users can Force click on the trackpad to enable new capabilities, such as looking up the definition of a word or previewing a file.

Another type of new click or gesture has been dubbed accelerators, and it works like this: gradually add pressure to the Force Touch trackpad to vary the speed with which users fast-forward through a movie. They can also gradually add pressure to zoom in on a location in Maps.

Pressure-sensitive Drawing
Apple has also highlighted a third type of click/gesture that's for pressure-sensitive drawing. In other words: users can press lightly on the Force Touch trackpad to create a thin stroke while drawing or harder for a thick one when, let's say, creating a signature for forms in Preview.

The trackpad will of course also send a tangible response to the user's fingertip whenever they perform certain actions, including Force click, accelerators, and pressure-sensitive drawing, meaning they will be able to feel even mundane tasks like like aligning annotations on a PDF.


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