Aside from a design refresh and the highly controversial removal of almost all connectivity ports, Apple’s new MacBook laptops also brought a brand new feature to the market: the “Force Touch” technology.
The touch pads that equipped Apple laptops were sleek, powerful and elegant already, but the Force Touch technology aims to take everything to a whole new level and make everything better.
What’s even greater is that the Force Touch technology is just making its debut in touchpads, but its implementation will extend to other devices as well. Rumours circulating on the Internet claim that the new generation of iPhones, dubbed the 6S, will feature the Force Touch technology in the display, which will be a game changer, both in overall usability, but especially in the segment of gaming.
Force Touch Explained
For those of you that didn’t keep a keen eye on the latest events, and don’t know much about Apple’s newly introduced Force Touch technology, allow us to dig in a bit and explain it, as it is important to understand how it works in order to understand its implications, and how it might become the game changer of touch input technology.
Before Force Touch, touchpads were pretty standard and straightforward – a piece of plastic that acted as a touch-input device, usually fitted with some clickable areas near its corners. The Force Touch technology removes the “clickable” part, as well as the “plastic” part from the touchpad; instead, the Force Touch touchpad that equips the new MacBooks is made of a capacitive glass surface which records touches.
However, the greater feature of the Force Touch technology embedded into the new touchpad is the taptic motors placed underneath. Instead of the whole touchpad plate moving up and down when clicking, the glass touchpad is fixed, but a small motor underneath it reacts when a click-like gesture is detected, offering haptic feedback. You might be familiar with haptic feedback from your smartphone, if you’re an Android or Windows Phone user – it’s the small vibration you get as a response when touching a certain “button” on the display.
Force Touch in iPhones
In its current format, the Force Touch technology can easily be included in smartphones as well, and it’s very likely that the new iPhone will have it. So, what does this mean for the user? Quite a lot, actually.
Aside from the improved overall usability, Force Touch will have an even bigger impact on gaming, and that’s because the technology also includes pressure sensors that can distinguish between multiple levels of pressure.
In terms of gaming, this means that a single button can now do a whole lot more than a simple action. Simply tapping it might perform an action, while applying a bit of pressure can trigger another action. In case you’re missing the bigger picture here, multiple functions for a button equals less buttons, and less buttons means that the smaller screens will not be crowded with controls, but leave more display space for the actual game.
This is a great achievement on its own, as smartphone manufacturers have been dealing with this issue pretty much since the first smartphones, and now it seems that Apple finally found a way of making things right.
Also, with multiple pressure levels, touch controls will become a lot more intuitive, which will also contribute to a better gaming experience, all while the haptic response will provide better feedback from the game, thus improving the immersive experience.
These aspects might not seem much at first, but are solid first steps in what can prove to be a real gaming revolution. Well done, Apple!