Every year it’s the same process. Around mid-August all the tech news outlets speculate about the next iPhone, then in early September Apple sends out press invitations for an announcement, come mid-September new iPhones are unveiled (maybe iPads too) and 2-4 weeks later the new iPhones are available for purchase. This year BuzzFeed has pegged September 9th as announcement day, the exact same date as last year. So what can we expect from this generation’s ’S’ counterpart?
Undoubtably the new iPhone will have a better camera, faster processor and will physically be the same as the 6/6 Plus. Every ’S’ iteration meets those basic tenants. But what will be the stand out feature? The spin that makes us throw money at Tim Cook during the announcement? We don’t know for sure, but more likely than not, it will be Force Touch.
Force Touch was first unveiled with the Apple Watch. Due to the Apple Watch’s small screen, it was difficult to present users with all the options they needed on such small real estate. Force Touching in an Apple Watch app brings up a menu with ‘hidden’ options that the user may need to access, but are not important enough to clutter the already small display. Force Touch was also added to newer MacBook trackpads as a new method of input. For example, clicking a file selects it, right-clicking a file opens a menu of options and Force Touching a file immediately opens a preview of it. This is essentially just a shortcut for right-click > quick look, but the utility of Force Touch extends far beyond just that.
On an iPhone the application of Force Touch would be a mix of the MacBook’s and Apple Watch's applications. Instead of opening a menu of extra options, Force Touch could do something direct, in less taps than normal. For example in Maps, a user could Force Touch on a location or a search result and Maps would immediately start driving directions for that location, a savings of 2-3 taps! Alternatively, one could Force Touch the Messages app on the home screen and be presented with a ‘new message’ window, or Force Touching the phone icon brings up your favorites. When you really think about it, the gimmick of Force Touch becomes quite useful with the right application.
Along with Force Touch, comes haptic feedback. This has been present in both the Apple Watch and new MacBooks. After all, adding a slight z-axis that recognizes firm presses as opposed to taps is something that is easy for a computer to understand, but not so much a person. This is where haptic feedback comes in. I can’t recognize the nanometer difference between a press and a hard press, but if the device gives me a gentle tap to confirm my press, then I know exactly what I have a accomplished. The utility of haptic feedback also can do away with vibrating motors. This means no more loud buzzing from phones on vibrate mode, only inaudible tapping. Haptics are also much more precise and distinct than their vibrating counterparts, allowing for custom taps and patterns for different contacts or notifications.
Admittedly, a few months ago, if Force Touch was Apple’s shtick for this ’S’ series I would be very skeptical and probably disappointed. However, my experience with Force Touch and Haptics on the Apple Watch has made me a believer. If the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are anything like what the rumors suggest, you can sign me up, and of course, fret not, because Shatter Buggy will definitely be repairing the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.
-Shatter Buggy, Denver