As Apple's iPhone turns 8, Force Touch and Touch ID are ready for the future

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
Eight years after redefining the mobile computing experience with multitouch, Apple is laying the groundwork for yet another revolution with Force Touch and deep investments in biometric authentication technology that could make future iPhones even more secure and easier to use.




On this day in 2007, the world unwittingly?witnessed the turn of a technological epoch when the first shipments of iPhones began landing in consumers' hands. They brought with them the then-revolutionary multitouch display and a new interaction model that --?because it's been imitated in everything from television remotes to soda machines -- has made swiping and pinching feel as natural as clicking a mouse.

The inexorable march of technology forces every revolutionary idea into ordinariness eventually, and multitouch is no exception. Apple knows this, of course, and has been preparing for its next act with Force Touch and Touch ID.

Force Touch, which first appeared on the Apple Watch, gives user interfaces a new dimension: depth.

Designers have been emulating depth for years in an effort to afford users more navigational context. This is why iOS apps have zoomed in and out since the first generation; it's why iOS 7 brought translucency to Notification Center. Depth gives users a sense of order and helps prevent them from getting lost.

Apple iPhone


With Force Touch, we can use depth as more than just a visual construct?--?we can use it as a method of control.

As AppleInsider first reported in February, the next-generation "iPhone 6s" is expected to be the second of Apple's touchscreen device lineup to get Force Touch. Looking further into the future, iPhones could even lose the home button. These developments are not unrelated.

With Force Touch, the home button can be made redundant. A light press on the display could be a tap, a firmer press might bring up the app switcher, and a hard press could take you home.

This requires us users to be as deft with Force Touch as we are with clicking a button, though, and we aren't there yet --?but Apple is pushing us in that direction. Encouraging developers to make use of variable-pressure Force Touch gestures on the Mac and the already widespread application of Force Touch on the Apple Watch are moves clearly designed to get us up to speed.

Touch ID


What about Touch ID, though? It's a lynchpin of Apple's current approach to security, and at least for the moment it lives and dies with the home button.

Apple has been trying to solve this problem for a very long time, and there are signs that they may be getting close. Aside from the company's numerous patents on the subject and reports that a new display with integrated fingerprint recognition is on the way, relatively few of AuthenTec's experienced engineers have left after Apple's $356 million buyout. With no more laptop swipe sensors to sell, they must be working on something.

Apple has also been busy stockpiling intellectual property, most recently quietly acquiring dozens of patents from touchscreen authentication firm Privaris.

All together, the iPhone seems rather well positioned to do again in its second eight years what it did in its first: set the benchmark for mobile user experience and give Apple another head start on competition that seems increasingly incapable of independent innovation.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    If apple removes the homebutton then the next 8 years would be a steep plumit.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    I predict eventually our cellphones will also be our laptops with holographic virtual displays projected from the phone as will be a keyboard. The angle of view of the hologram will be selective to the viewer for privacy sake. So the holograms will have controlled opacity.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,632member
    Removal of the homebutton could be a great technological innovation that will propel Apple.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by eightzero View Post



    Removal of the homebutton could be a great technological innovation that will propel Apple.



    Not quite sure why removal of home button is always seen as a good thing. Whatever menus appear on the screen, a separate home button can always be relied upon to be consistent.

    I would like to see force touch added though (on the screen) I like it on my macbook 12 inch, with the only complaint is thats its under utilized at this point

  • Reply 5 of 30
    Well I will not enable Touch ID. If you do not knowwhy read the legal interpretation of search and warrant. That convenience cost you privacy and allows for search without warrant. Ask lawyers.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post



    Well I will not enable Touch ID. If you do not knowwhy read the legal interpretation of search and warrant. That convenience cost you privacy and allows for search without warrant. Ask lawyers.

    Well then don't be a criminal and don't get arrested.  That would be easier.

  • Reply 7 of 30

    What is interesting about how Apple is currently using Force Touch is it is similar to how Apple uses the long press gesture. The long press gesture displays contextual menus. iPhone/iPad/iPod touch owners can use the long press gesture to to select all, copy, paste and/or delete information. Because of the existence of the long press gesture, I am thinking Force Touch will provide "something more" than Apple has presented and others have guessed at so far.

  • Reply 8 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post

     



    Not quite sure why removal of home button is always seen as a good thing. Whatever menus appear on the screen, a separate home button can always be relied upon to be consistent.

    I would like to see force touch added though (on the screen) I like it on my macbook 12 inch, with the only complaint is thats its under utilized at this point


    I believe Force Touch will replace the functionality of the home button at some point and full screen biometric scanner would be awesome!

  • Reply 9 of 30
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post



    Well I will not enable Touch ID. If you do not knowwhy read the legal interpretation of search and warrant. That convenience cost you privacy and allows for search without warrant. Ask lawyers.



    That is not true at all. If you are referring to going through a border (like the Canada-US border) then it is true that they can force you to unlock your iPhone via a finger print tap and they (the US border guards at least) can NOT however force you to give them your password (5th amendment rights)... however, there is one easy solution for this - simply turn your phone off just before going through any border crossing... your iPhone ALWAYS requires a password after a restart - problem solved.

     

    As for a police officer forcing you - they can't without proper warrants... however, password or Touch ID, neither will help you against the court order and an contempt of court charge if you fail to comply.

     

    Thanks

  • Reply 10 of 30

    one clarification... if your iPhone is part of a crime scene... they don't need a warrant.  The iPhone is so secure though, (unlike Android), that if it is secured via a passcode or Touch ID, there is no way that they can get inside to the data... they can test the outside for evidence (without your permission of warrant), but they'll need you to provide the passcode and they can't unless you simple allow them to have it (goodwill) or they force you via a court order (warrant).

  • Reply 11 of 30
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    Great and AAPL dropped to $124.55 today.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,273member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    Great and AAPL dropped to $124.55 today.

    Stop your whining. Don't just look at Apple, look at the entire market. All most all tech stocks are down. Apple will have ups and downs. It's fine.
  • Reply 13 of 30
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,632member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by fallenjt View Post



    Great and AAPL dropped to $124.55 today.

    Time to buy for sure!

  • Reply 14 of 30

    The border and your privacy...

     

    Sorry to harp on this... but this has become a really big issue for me and one I've been concerned about and have been following for along time now.

     

    Comments like the this one below:

    Quote:


     Well then don't be a criminal and don't get arrested.  That would be easier.


     

    are naive and the reason why we are getting our rights trampled on by our governments. People seem to think it's only the "criminals" who need rights... or who should rely on laws to protect their right, when it is very much the opposite that is true.  When I travel, and return to Canada or the USA (whichever is home).. I should have all my rights - I shouldn't have to give up any of them to travel... the opposite however is true. Canada (CBSA) for example can look into any cellphone or computer... they can read all my emails, my private documents, EVERYTHING.. if they ask for a password - I must provide it freely (regardless of citizenship) or be charged with obstruction. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has almost the same powers (except for passwords- protected by the 5th amendment, and only secured because a case was challenged through the courts and their powers were culled).

     

    So ... to the people who have nothing to hide... if I read your texts (including "inside jokes") are you telling me there is nothing there to cause pause - nothing clearly said as a joke to you but where I can read it without proper context or without inside knowledge and maybe, just maybe, get a different understanding.  And ... when is too much... suppose I read your texts and find nothing... but as a border guard, I still think a pat down is in order (you have no rights - so you can't say NO)... after the pat down... I find nothing... but I still suspect something, so I hold you in a special room (with a special toilet you can't flush) and I order a 24 hour hold on you... so we can do a strip search and so forth. And there is nothing your government can do about this - it may very well be your government doing it, but it may also be the government where you're traveling to or from that is holding you (this happens everyday at our borders - often with nothing found).  What about vehicle searches... they are allowed to pull apart your car - pull the panels off with a small pry bar (crowbar) for a popular example - they try not to wreck it too much... but when you get your car back - they aren't mechanics and they don't care. (they will give you a claims slip - sometimes)...

     

    We need our rights BACK when crossing the border. You're right --- we aren't criminals, and therefore we shouldn't be treated like ones. (btw: the CBSA (Canada) is the worst, although I never had an issue with them, the USA guards seem so much better to me).

     

    Thanks!

  • Reply 15 of 30
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    New is not always better.
    The music app on my iPod (5 or 6 years old) is better than the new iterations, hardware and software combined.
    My old iPhone3GS feels still a lot better than the latest ones and its software is better tuned.
    The fingerprint sensor home button is much harder to press and not well tuned.
    And so on.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 763member

    Will Force Touch on the iPhone have just two states (soft, hard), or will it detect an analog RANGE of force?

     

    The Watch and new MBP have two states, so I'm guessing the iPhone will support only two states too.  But a full range would open up large possible new use-cases.  One (arbitrary) example would be steering a car in an iOS game: depending on how forcefully you press your left or right thumb, the car will turn less or more.

  • Reply 17 of 30
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SirLance99 View Post





    Stop your whining. Don't just look at Apple, look at the entire market. All most all tech stocks are down. Apple will have ups and downs. It's fine.

    and if you look at the market for Apple lately, it's more volatile than any other company. My point is that it doesn't matter what kind technology Apple will come up, Wall Streets still suppress their stocks with lies and rumors. 

  • Reply 18 of 30
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by eightzero View Post

     

    Time to buy for sure!


    and that's exactly what I did: limit buy at $125.

  • Reply 19 of 30
    I doubt they'd get rid of the home BUTTON. It would probably just no longer actually push in, using haptics instead to make you feel like you'd pressed it (as with the force touch trackpads). I think it might work like this:
    light double tap for reachability (same as now)
    normal press for home (same as now)
    force touch for app switcher (or double normal press; same as now)
    normal triple press for accessibility shortcut (same as now)

    Even if Apple can integrate TouchID into the screen, I doubt they'd get rid of that home button. It's too convenient, intuitive, and well known. Maybe they'd just make it smaller or ovoid.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    irelandireland Posts: 17,751member

    It's like the Force Touch trackpads that don't have as nice of a click as a physical trackpad has—as described by Marco Arment. And I'd believe it because I typed on that new MacBook keyboard, wanting to buy the device, but I walked away in disgust at how awful the typing experience was. As Marco said, he could get used to typing on a MacBook, but he'd never love it. Getting rid of the home button better be because it's a better experience, not because they can.

     

    'Look at our new technology, it's amazing, you can now use the touch screen to scan your fingerprint, but when you want to go back to the home screen and exit an app, yeah, that's not quite as intuitive and satisfying anymore. But this is cool though—no one else is doing this.'

     

    Meh.

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