A Personal Touch

Force Touch is coming to a device near you and it’s going to change everything.

Force Touch and Taptic Engine are going to bring with them a whole new dimension to the touch screen experience.

Mobile devices like the Blackberry started out with buttons, physical buttons, that ensured the user that some kind of input was happening on this strangely powerful new micro computer. Mobile training wheels if you will.

When the iPhone landed many saw the touch screen as intimidating and awkward to use. Touching a flat surface to complete complex tasks wasn't natural for human beings, people needed physical feedback and confirmation that what they have done has indeed been done.

Force Touch and Taptic Engine will now allow the touch screen to have a dimension that not only provides physical feedback of each interaction but will allow us to drill down even deeper into an interface that until now was relatively flat and unresponsive.

Google’s Material Design was a nice attempt at using animation along with depth and shadows to simulate a layered experience but lacks the one attribute that truly brings that depth to life.

With ForceTouch Apple precisely honed in on a new way to touch and receive feedback, adding new actions to a button or an object on a touch screen and the ability to apply physics to them so that it precisely returns the right “feel” to the user.

I am admittedly not a huge fan of the Apple Watch and think it has a long way to go before it really has true value the way our phones do. But the one thing that continuously blows my mind is the potential around Force Touch coupled with the Taptic Engine. The way I can now press down on my tiny little screen and access a menu or object from a seemingly new dimension of the interface that hadn’t existed before.

This tugs at my curiosity and challenges me to think about what the new iPhone and iPad will bring in the form of ForceTouch, how social interactions will benefit from this new feature and how everyday apps will expand from the ability to get closer to the experience.

My mind swirls with a million ideas and the desire to experiment with scenarios where Force Touch will change how we use our mobile devices.

The keyboard is obviously the one of the first place I start to imagine where this can be applied. There was obviously a very primal reason so many people bemoaned the elimination of a physical keypad on mobile devices, perhaps ForceTouch and a more precise Taptic Engine will fill that void and return those users back to their happy tappy ways… But there is so much more around the application of this new technology.

Thinking about micro interactions on social platforms where people will have a unique “feeling” as a way to respond to others. So much more emotional than an emoji. Sarcasm, anger, happiness and delight can all be interpreted through the Taptic Engine and bring even more personalization to the things we do on screen.

ForceTouch and Taptic Engine is only the beginning of what will be a much more tactile internet, an internet that responds to the touch and that can respond back with its own kind of “touch”.

Think about the next time you hit a buy button or like a friend’s picture or even swipe across a screen, perhaps the feedback you receive will indicate or initiate what is to come or even help influence decision making?

Perhaps we will start to see the emergence of a branded “taptic” that can “touch” you in a unique way when you pass by a retail location or get a push notification from a brand or a particular person.

The sky is the limit and the technology will scale fast. Now is the time to start thinking about how to utilize this new level of interaction and how to create experiences that are not only touching but that you can actually touch, and that can touch you back.