||This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions.|
|September 9, 2014 (2014-09-09)|
Force Touch is a technology developed by Apple Inc. that enables trackpads and touchscreens to distinguish between different levels of force being applied to their surfaces. First unveiled on September 9, 2014 during the Apple Watch introduction, Force Touch is a pressure-sensitive multi-touch technology. The technology is designed to add another method of input to Apple’s devices. Beginning with the Apple Watch, Force Touch has been introduced to many of the products within Apple’s lineup, including the MacBook with Retina display, MacBook Pro, Magic Trackpad 2, and flagship iPhone models, like the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7, where the technology is known as 3D Touch.
Force Touch is operated with many components. On the Apple Watch, a series of electrodes line the curvature of the screen. When a press is detected, these electrodes determine the pressure applied. A similar process occurs in trackpad applications of the technology (such as in the MacBook Pro and Magic Trackpad 2), although sensory information is determined by a series of four sensors that align with the corners of the trackpad. The feedback is then relayed to the "Taptic Engine", an electromagnetic linear actuator. Unlike typical motors, the linear actuator does not rotate, but oscillates back and forth. The Taptic Engine produced immediate feedback without the need to offset the balance of mass. The feedback provided is called haptic feedback, a very precise vibration that relays information back to the user with precision.
Extending past the multi-touch abilities of a touchscreen, Force Touch has a number of operations in Apple's software and hardware. Information such as reminders and dates can be pressed down with force to expand them so users can perform more actions more quickly, and applications developed for Apple's software can take advantage of Force Touch by implementing their own functions where Force Touch can be used. On the MacBook with Retina Display and the 2015 Macbook Pro, users can increase the rate of fast forward of videos simply by exerting a larger pressure on the Force Touch trackpad.
A more sensitive version of Force Touch named "3D Touch" is included in iPhone 6S, and iPhone 7. 3D Touch works using capacitive sensors integrated directly into the display. When a press is detected, these capacitive sensors measure microscopic changes in the distance between the backlight and the cover glass. This information is then combined with accelerometer signals and touch sensors to provide an accurate interpretation of the user's intentions. The linear actuator within the Taptic Engine is capable of reaching peak output in just one cycle, and producing vibrations that last 10 milliseconds. When the user presses or holds the iPhone screen, it will trigger pressure-sensitive capability that will open up menus and actions on iPhone 6S or 7, as seen on Apple Watch. The user can press down or hold the screen and pull up or open up context-sensitive menus, switch or close apps or can also see photo effects like Live Photos. The 3D Touch technology allows the device to recognize the pressure of a user's touch inputs, thus distinguishing between normal and more forceful touches.
When the touch sensors can distinguish the different pressure levels for the OS to process, the Taptic Engine gives the feedback to the user by imitating the sense of clicking similar to clicking on physical keyboard.
|This section needs expansion.|