Force Touch for the iPhone 6s: A feature by any other name

“What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he Romeo call’d, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title” (Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II).

The line above is taken from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, one of the most famous plays the playwright penned in his lifetime. The topic of discussion within Juliet’s lines to Romeo above concerns his name. “Deny thy father and refuse thy name, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet” is another famous line from the same play in which Juliet tells Romeo to deny his family name and she would deny hers, too. Romeo would retain the wonderful character he had apart from his first or last name. Being a Montague wasn’t what gave him worth; he had a self-worth that was completely detached from his last name.

If “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” then “a feature by any other name will work the same.” This is my contention with a feature that has been rumored for Apple’s iPhone 6s – a feature called “Force Touch.”

Many tech enthusiasts have thrown around the term “Force Touch” at length, but few have gone into detail regarding what it is. What is Force Touch? Force Touch is a new feature Apple’s preparing for the iPhone 6s that allows the screen to respond to your touch properly. If you perform a “light” touch on the screen, a tap, iOS will respond differently than if you perform a “hard” or “force” touch. Performing a force touch on the Bluetooth icon in your bottom notification window will take you to your Bluetooth settings. The name may imply the feature is new, but Force Touch is nothing more than a long press on the screen. Apple’s name for it (Force Touch) gives the impression that it’s something new that’s yet to arrive in the mobile experience. In reality, Samsung devices have had the long press feature since as early as two years ago with the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 (if not earlier).

This is not a surprise. Apple has a good track record with using new labels as an effective marketing. Take the Retina display, for example: so many consumers view the Retina Display as Apple’s own unique panel for the iPhone and iPad, but few know the truth – it’s really nothing more than Apple’s name for a basic LCD panel. LCD panels are cheap and easy to manufacture.

Apple does add its own unique material to the display panel to give good viewing angles, and its LCD screens are deemed the best LCD panels in the world by display expert DisplayMate, but the majority of the display is manufactured by companies such as Sharp, LG, and even its staunch Android rival, Samsung. Retina Display is nothing more than “a sharp screen that’s crystal-clear to the eye.” This sounds fine and good, but it’s nothing worth marketing. At least, Apple has yet to explain how or why it should have the label “Retina Display” for its iPhone and iPad displays.

The company has done the same thing with Touch ID. Touch ID has revolutionized fingerprint scanners in the smartphone experience, but Apple wasn’t the first to bring a fingerprint scanner to smartphones (Motorola’s Atrix HD takes the prize here) and Apple acquired the company AuthenTec who produced fingerprint scanners. Touch ID is a name that separates Apple’s fingerprint scanner apart from the others, but the function is the same – to help consumers register their fingerprint. Samsung’s use of the feature in its Galaxy S6 and S6 edge (and soon, the Galaxy Note 5) shows that the Touch ID concept (not the name, mind you) is not native to Apple.

“Retina Display,” “Touch ID,” and “Force Touch” are all fancy names for basic features within the smartphone experience that capitalize on current technology. Force Touch has always been a long press, Touch ID has always been digital fingerprinting (which has been in existence for some time now), and the Retina Display is a crystal-clear display of Apple’s choosing (but is bested by AMOLED displays in the market). Apple’s feature names give the impression that Apple’s introducing a new feature, but a feature by any other name (whether Force Touch or long press) will work the same. Apple’s label gives a new name to an old feature.

To see how the feature works, visit the source link below.


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