Being long time keen observer of mobile tech industry, I have seen how iPhone has evolved over the years. Till the launch of iPhone 6, apple has taken almost all the right steps for betterment of their iconic product. But, with force touch, apple has introduced a borderline gimmick tech in their product. Many tech blogs have compared the force touch with pinch to zoom tech. This comparison is total bullshit!
Pinch to zoom:
Mobile touchscreen is a 2D interface. It was very logical and intuitive to introduce a 2D gesture like pinch to zoom. Not only pinch to zoom, but consider other gestures used in different apple devices. For example, in iPad when you pinch with three or more fingers all the open apps are shown in thumbnail format. In MacBook, two finger swipe will scroll the page as if you are sliding a paper. All these things are very intuitive. And that’s where apple scores! Bringing human interactions to work properly in machine interface. But this human interaction is not intuitive in case of Force Touch.
I agree that it is an interesting concept. Giving 3D feel to 2D interface in itself is great achievement. But it does not and will not be anything more than niche market. There are several reasons for that:
- Biggest reason is, it is not intuitive.
- Everything which can be done by using force touch interface can be achieved through long press. When you think of Force Touch, it’s hardly any better than older method of long press.
- For slow learners it becomes a task to differentiate between long press and force touch.
- Very limited applicability: Consider how limited the scope is for implementation of force touch. Mainly cause mobile screens are basically 2D interfaces (I simply can’t emphasise it more :p)
In spite of all these, Force Touch is not a completely useless tech. There are some amazing things which can be done with it. One top of the mind example is of an app that measures weight of ingredient put in spoon. Just imagine how useful will this be for day-to-day activity like cooking, or special activities in medical field. This is exactly why there is the need of iPhone Pro.
Decades ago, Steve Jobs introduced famous grid for desktop and laptop. Now is the time to introduce similar grid for iPad and iPhone. Following are the two compelling reasons behind that:
- Saturation in processor speed: 3D Gaming, Research Analysis, Cognitive learning, Audio and Video editing etc. These kind of disciplines will continue pushing the boundaries for technological development. But common people normally “consumes” the media and hardly go beyond applying various filters in Instagram or playing candy crush :) For these activities 4 years old iPhone 5 is also a great device.
- Niche tech: Technologies such as force touch, 4K video and screen. While these have wow factor to it, it just doesn’t make sense for mobiles. (It’s humanly impossible to differentiate between 1K video and 4K video running on 4-5 inch screen.) If we just let go of such niche technology for normal iPhone, this will also increase the battery backup for device. This is very important factor as we have reached physical constraints over the battery density capacity. Just imagine getting couple of hours of extra from your phone without compromising on quality (refer the 1K vs 4K screen comparison).
Following is the grid which I created for Base and Pro model of iPhone and iPad:
This way, the artists, scientists can continue to enjoy the top of the notch products like iPhone Pro and iPad Pro while normal consumers don’t have to break bank but still enjoy the base model of their favourite device.
Recently apple has come up with iPhone SE which is almost like base model I described. But, front camera of 1.2 MP is just ridiculous. I wish iPhone SE (2nd Gen) bridges this gap to give us a kickass iPhone Base model.
Couple of weeks and iPhone 7 will be launched by apple. I wish they scrap so many varients of their products and stick to grid pattern envisioned by Steve Jobs. Simple. Elegant. Effective!