Apple could be planning to add its Force Touch technology to the iPhone 6S, if the latest rumors are true. Now there are indications from the company’s supply chain that appear to confirm those rumors.
Apple ramps up sensor production
Apple first debuted its Force Touch technology in the Apple Watch, which becomes available for preorders on April 10. Apple also introduced its Taptic Engine which brings haptics to the MacBook. Force Touch and Taptic Engine are both new types of sensors designed to help devices better differentiate between taps and various gestures.
In a report dated March 27, Morgan Stanley analyst Bill Lu and his team said it appears as if Apple is ramping up production of its Force Touch sensors faster than it usually ramps up production for new components. They say this suggests that the sensors could be coming to more Apple devices this year.
Clues from Apple’s supply chain
The Morgan Stanley team said they’ve found signs that Apple is quickly ramping up production of its pressure sensors. As a result, they think the iPhone 6S and the next iPad could feature Force Touch and / or Taptic Engine.
If Apple does add the technologies to its next iPhone and iPad, it would mean that most of the company’s products may have both of them just one year after they were unveiled, which was in September 2014. It would also mean that the technologies are being added only six months after the first devices featuring them began shipping. The Apple Watch and the new MacBook start shipping in April
The analysts believe this is a “very fast rollout, even for Apple.” As a result, they say both technologies must be extremely important for Apple.
Apple further differentiates its devices
The Morgan Stanley team believes Force Touch and Taptic Engine offer “interesting” new ways for users to interact with their deices. Force Touch specifically enables the Apple Watch to tell the difference between a press and a tap. On the MacBook, the Taptic Engine provides the “illusion of a click” when users press even though the new trackpad doesn’t work like traditional trackpads.
The analysts see a few reasons Apple will gain a competitive advantage through the addition of the technologies to more devices. The faster the company can roll out Force Touch and Taptic Engine to other devices, the more it may be able to gain.
How Apple may get the advantage
In particular, the analysts say gaming could get even more interesting with the two new technologies. They also see the potential for iPads and Macs to be transformed into controllers for Macs and TVs. The technologies also make “no-look typing” easier and could aid medical research when combined with ResearchKit, which Apple unveiled earlier this month.
The API enables researchers to create apps to gather data from patients, possibly using their accelerometer, microphone, camera and barometer. The analysts believe Force Touch could add even more input possibilities.
Lu and his team believe Force Touch and Taptic Engine will be as game-changing as the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, giving Apple a leg up against the competition. They point out that Apple is tightly controlling the silicon used for these applications. They also expect a “halo effect” across the company’s devices if it and also third-party developers are able to make the most of the technologies.