Is it time to say goodbye to Force Touch?

If you are not a newbie to Apple Watch, but someone who has been using it before and is willing to explore how to use it, then you will find the Apple Watch Series 6 that you recently got, or the old Apple Watch that has been upgraded to watchOS 7. The pressure sensor, the Force Touch function, can no longer be used.

Apple Watch Series 6 removed the Force Touch component from the hardware for the first time, while watchOS 7 completely blocked the feature from the software.

As a user who bought the original Apple Watch and Apple Watch Series 5, it is inevitable to be a little disappointed.

The Force touch function is the first time Apple introduced on the 2015 MacBook Pro trackpad and the original Apple Watch. It is a new function that expands operations by feeling the force of the user's pressing, and it brings a new dimension of interaction.

Regarding how good this technology is, Winboy from Ai Faner once commented like this:

The Mac trackpad has already left the PC for several blocks, and the new Force Touch may make the PC trackpad even more embarrassing.

Let the PC touchpad feel uncomfortable, this evaluation is not excessive, until today, five years later, there is no comparable touchpad experience.

No matter how good the experience of this feature is and how many people like it, in fact, Force Touch is now in danger.

The beginning of de Force Touch

Force touch's gradual fall out of favor starts with the younger brother of its mother, 3D Touch.

Although the name of 3D Touch is different from Force Touch, the core principle is the same. It uses vibration motor and pressure sensitivity to simulate the pressing and feedback of the pressure dimension, but there is a slight difference in the method of use. 3D Touch will More detailed, but personally think that this is basically Apple split it into two terms in order to better market this technology.

Compared with the highly acclaimed Force Touch on laptops, 3D Touch is ill-fated. The evaluation of this feature is very subtle, and it has nothing to do with the evaluation. The biggest doubt people have about 3D Touch is , I hardly feel that this function exists in the system.

Perhaps some people like this feature very much and find it very convenient, but unfortunately, judging from various feedback channels, the base of these people is too small to form actual influence.

This may be the biggest reason why Apple wants to cut it. Whether it is good or bad, Apple can further improve this feature to make it easier to use and cover more usage scenarios, but when many users rarely use it, or even realize When this function is not available, this may be "the direction is wrong."

So last year, Apple finally officially cut off the 3D Touch function on the phone. I also happened to have the last generation of iPhone XS that supports 3D-Touch. I personally rarely use this function, and now I do. At the system level, the implementation of shortcut functions has been changed, and the pressure-sensitive screen hardware has become completely useless hardware.

Apple Watch also lost ForceTouch

Cutting off the pressure-sensing function on its own most sold product series seems to indicate what Apple will do next. According to Apple's usual practice of unifying the experience of one platform, Force Touch on other platforms will not be better.

Sure enough, as early as before the release of Apple Watch Series 6, news came from the supply chain that the new Apple Watch had cut off Force Touch in the entire series, and I happened to buy the last generation of Apple Watch Series 5 with Force Touch function again.

Unlike the iPhone, which was added in the first half of the road, the Force Touch on the Apple Watch has been installed on the first-generation Apple Watch, which is "slow to almost completely unable to use third-party software". For users, heavy pressure is a fairly common operation on a watch.

Similar to iOS, the Force Touch interaction is also canceled at the system level on watchOS 7. For example, the user in the original notification bar can call a one-click clear button anywhere in the notification bar by pressing, and then upgrade to watchOS 7 The previous button is moved to the top of the notification bar and becomes a fixed button that will not be hidden.

For example, in the original weather application, the way of heavy pressure can directly exhale three big buttons to switch between temperature, weather conditions, and precipitation probability. Now to switch these three views, you need to do it in the attempt button on the first level interface Switch.

You may have discovered that it is not the same as replacing 3D Touch with the long-press Haptic Touch on the iPhone. On the Apple Watch, Apple tends to use more visible buttons and menus to replace the more hidden entrances.

I can understand that Apple’s change is nothing more than heavy pressure as a further operation that increases the intensity of this invisible dimension judgment, which leads to very unintuitive operation and high learning costs. For new users, they may not even find this way of operation in the product life cycle.

For Apple Watch, this year the more cost-effective Apple Watch SE was launched. At the same time, the entry-level Apple Series 3 was not taken off the shelves. The intention is to open up more user markets through this combination, and for new users, reduce usage The cost of learning is really important.

▲ Force Touch gasket on Apple Watch Series 4. Picture from: ifixit

At the same time, because Apple Watch itself belongs to the kind of smart watch product that compromises battery life in order to achieve more functions, the diversity of functions is its advantage, and reducing the cost of learning can also give full play to its own advantages. In addition, Force Touch will also take up a little bit of volume. After cutting it off, the battery of Apple Watch Series 6 is too big and lost.

But as an old user who has bought a generation of Apple Watch, I still regret that this feature has been cut, because in such a small display area of ​​the watch, after getting familiar with the operation method, I hope to have a more concise interface and faster The way of operation, Force Touch gave me a usable solution, and now this possibility is gone.

The last Force Touch

After the iPhone and Apple Watch lose the ability to sense pressure one after another, you will be a little horrified to find that Force Touch is the only function left on the veteran MacBook trackpad and Magic TrackPad 2.

So the last question is-will the Force Touch on the MacBook trackpad be cut off?

I can find many reasons to reserve this function for the Mac trackpad. For example, the internal space of the notebook is larger, and the components of Force Touch do not take up much volume. For example, the touch operation on the Mac does not overlap with the screen content. Tap operation More independent without compromising on the interaction of screen touch, Force Touch is more of an extended operation mode on the Mac, which is farther from the core interaction than devices like Apple Watch, and so on.

But at the same time, don’t forget that Apple’s system ecology is in a period when the mobile terminal has the greatest impact on the desktop. Both iPadOS and macOS have incorporated a lot of features from each other, and iPadOS itself is developed from iOS and is most affected by iOS. .

From the point of view of the chain, the original interaction of macOS is already at the end, and the interaction is more likely to gradually match the iPadOS and iOS. This is a very bad signal for Force Touch.

For example, the iPad Pro is a device that is eroding part of the thin and light notebook market. The launch of the Magic Keyboard this year is undoubtedly a great boost to its productivity. On this extended keyboard, which is heavier than the main body, Apple adopts a purely mechanical design. A full area press feature similar to the Mac trackpad is implemented, but further extended features like Force Touch are not supported.

This may also pave the way for the cancellation of the Force Touch function of the Mac trackpad in the future.

From the current point of view, the reason for cutting Force touch is still very good. Either the application scenario is too tasteless, or the core interaction is too invisible, the learning cost is high, or the pursuit of a unified experience of platform equipment.

However, the use value of Force Touch on the Mac trackpad is still very high. I also wrote an article before to explain what is so good about the Mac trackpad:

Its advantage is that you can operate the horizontal movement (slide) and vertical movement (click) in the space at the same time. You can perform a variety of operations without lifting your wrist away from the touchpad. It is not only efficient, but also very natural and intuitive. The point is unmatched by double-clicking or multi-finger gestures.

This is mainly attributed to the design of the entire area, but Force Touch further expands the practicality and playability of this function. For example, to rename a file, first move the cursor, then press to select, and then rename it again, completing the complicated operation with the smallest displacement.

I have used it for five years, and I like it for five years. Such a delicate experience really makes other touchpads feel ashamed, but in the future I am afraid I can only use the mentality of making a day by day.

Source of title image: Screen Rant

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