Apple not only introduced two new iPhones, a new iPad and a redesigned Apple TV, but also a new touch technology that’s certain to galvanize the haptics tech market.
At its heralded fall event Wednesday, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company unveiled its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plus, both featuring 3D Touch. Previously known as Force Touch, the interface differentiates between a tap from a press which allows access to a range of contextually specific controls. Already featured in its Apple Watch and MacBook trackpad, the system measures the distance between the glass and the backlight to detect how hard the user is pressing.
“The only thing that has changed with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is everything — 3D Touch lets users interact with iPhone in entirely new and fun ways,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
In addition to more powerful chips and cameras, the new phones features Live Photos, which automatically records photos as short videos when you hold your finger on a photo to record a moment of movement.
3D TOUCH A BOON FOR SUPPLIERS IN HAPTIC TECHNOLOGY ACTUATOR MARKET?
Apple says that the iPhone will offer haptic feedback as a part of the “3D Touch experience.” Haptic (or touch) feedback is nothing new, reports Reuters. It’s been around for 15 years. But Apple’s “embrace of it in iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus is likely to prove a boon for many companies, including those developing the technology and suppliers,” reports the news agency.
Apple, which doesn’t make its phones, contracts with firms to assemble its products based on its own designs, according to the Wall Street Journal. Parts makers will benefit from an increase in the number of handset manufacturers that will incorporate the touch feature in their smartphones. Just last week, Huawei Technologies launched a new flagship phone at the IFA electronics show in Germany touting a touch technology similar to 3D Touch, the WSJ reports.
“The new touch technology is expected to bring in new demand to the supply chain and it could be a catalyst to stimulate smartphone demand,” Freddie Liu, chief financial officer of TPK Holding Co., told the site. China-based touch-screen maker TPK, which provides touch sensors to makers of liquid crystal displays that are installed inside phones, is a major supplier of Apple’s 3D Touch (formerly Force Touch) technology.
According to BCC Research, the global haptic technology actuator market should reach $10.3 billion in 2020, up from $2.7 billion in 2015, reflecting a huge five-year compound annual growth rate of 30.7%.
Apple said it is launching the new iPhones across 12 countries including the U.S., China, U.K, Australia and Japan starting on Sept. 25.
FALL EVENT ROUND-UP: APPLE TV, iPAD PRO AND APPLE WATCH
The Apple TV set-top box has a new touchscreen remote with voice control via Siri (“Did the Cubs win today?”) and a universal search function that search across apps like iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu. The set also doubles as a gaming console.
iPad Pro comes with a 12.9-inch diagonal screen and weighs 1.57 lbs., nearly the same weight as the original iPad. It runs iOS, the same operating system that powers its other mobile devices. It also features Retina Display, four-speaker audio set-up, and an optional physical keyboard and stylus. The device will be available in November.
Apple Watch will now run apps that include Facebook Messenger and GoPro, plus a medical app called Airstrip that monitors vital signs in real time. Developers now can build apps that run on the watch instead of an iPhone. The watches new software, Watch OS 2, will launch Sept.16th.