Apple Plans to Expand Uses of Haptic Touch on iPhone XR Over Time

By now, you've probably heard that the iPhone XR features a new technology called Haptic Touch instead of the usual 3D Touch.


Haptic Touch is simply a marketing name for a long press combined with haptic feedback from the Taptic Engine. The feature is a substitute for 3D Touch , which Apple wasn't able to include on the iPhone XR in order to achieve a nearly edge-to-edge LCD screen, a remarkable engineering feat.

The biggest downfall with Haptic Touch is that it currently works in only a few places, such as the flashlight and camera shortcuts on the lock screen, and in Control Center to pop open additional toggles and menus. Fortunately, that won't be the case forever, according to The Verge's Nilay Patel.

From Patel's iPhone XR review, emphasis ours:
Haptic Touch does not have equivalents to everything 3D Touch can do, however — I missed previewing links in Safari and Twitter quite a bit. Apple told me it's working to bring it to more places in iOS over time, but that it's going slow to make sure the implementation is right.
Apple did not provide a timeframe, but it's safe to assume that additional Haptic Touch gestures will be added in future software updates.

It'll be interesting to see where Apple expands Haptic Touch across iOS, as the feature can only be implemented for actions that don't already rely on a long press. For example, long-pressing on an app icon on the home screen enables "wiggle mode," allowing apps to be deleted or rearranged on the home screen.

For that reason, Haptic Touch does not work with Quick Actions when you long press on an app icon on the iPhone XR home screen. Haptic Touch also doesn't support Peek and Pop for previewing content such as links and messages.

3D Touch : Quick Actions on left, Peek and Pop on right

Apple already works around the lack of 3D Touch for keyboard trackpad mode. In iOS 12, users can simply tap and hold the space bar to enter the trackpad mode, which allows for easier movement of the cursor within text fields. This user interface change was more than likely inspired by the iPhone XR .

A few months ago, Barclays analysts said it is "widely understood" among Apple's supply chain partners that all 2019 iPhones will lack 3D Touch. If accurate, Apple's plans to expand Haptic Touch may go beyond software. For now, the pressure-sensitive feature lives on with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

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Barclays: All 2019 iPhones May Lack 3D Touch, New AirPods and Lower-Priced HomePod to Launch Next Year

Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates traveled across Asia last week to meet with companies within Apple's supply chain. Today, they shared new predictions based on the information they gathered.


Highlights from their research note to investors, obtained by MacRumors:
  • Barclays says it's "widely understood" that 3D Touch will be removed from iPhones with OLED displays in 2019—aka the third-generation iPhone X and second-generation "iPhone X Plus." However, they caution that the plans aren't finalized yet, so they could change.

Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said 3D Touch won't be a feature on the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD, part of the upcoming 2018 lineup. So, by the sound of it, 3D Touch won't be a feature on any 2019 iPhones, assuming Apple sticks with the same three models expected in 2018.

While the lack of 3D Touch on the 6.1-inch iPhone would make sense, given expectations that it will essentially be a budget iPhone X, it's not entirely clear why it may be removed from the more expensive OLED models next year. As a somewhat hidden feature, perhaps Apple no longer finds it essential.
  • "AirPod 2" will launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, an optional wireless charging case for the original AirPods, and Apple's new AirPower charging mat, will be available this September.

This prediction is rather confusing, as back in February, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said Apple will release new AirPods with a new wireless chip and "Hey Siri" support as early as this year. Gurman also said a subsequent pair of AirPods with water resistance would be released as early as next year.

One possibility is that Apple will add "Hey Siri" support to the existing AirPods this fall by way of a software update, without a new wireless chip, but it's unclear if the current W1 chip can support the feature. In that case, Apple might elect to continue referring to them as first-generation AirPods.

In that scenario, the "AirPods 2" that Barclays is referring to could be the water-resistant pair that Gurman also believes could launch in 2019. However, this is admittedly a bit of a stretch, so it remains to be seen.
  • Barclays expects the launch of a "cheaper HomePod in 2019," with "broader appeal." The analysts say HomePod sales continue to "underwhelm," with less than five million sold since it launched in January.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, along with some Chinese publications, have also claimed that Apple has considered a lower-priced HomePod. One rumor suggested that it could be a Siri-enabled Beats speaker priced around $149 to $199.
  • Barclays says it "does see the potential for the new iPhones to support pen input," without naming the Apple Pencil specifically.

Taiwanese research firm TrendForce predicted that the higher-end 2018 iPhones will be compatible with the Apple Pencil.

Related Roundups: HomePod, 2018 iPhones, AirPods

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Japanese Entrepreneur Sues Apple Over Key Flicks and 3D Touch on iPhones and iPads

Toshiyasu Abe, a resident of Vancouver, Washington, has filed a lawsuit against Apple in Oregon district court this week, accusing the company of infringing upon his patent with Key Flicks and 3D Touch on select iPhone and iPad models.


The patent in question is No. 6,520,699, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in February 2003.
Mr. Abe has been an entrepreneur and inventor for nearly his entire life. In the early 2000s, Mr. Abe dedicated substantial time and resources into developing, promoting, and protecting the then-novel user interface device claimed in United States Patent No. 6,520,699, titled "KEYBOARD."
Like most patents, the description and claims for this one are very long and exhaustive, but from a high level, it at one point refers to a "user interface device" comprising "a plurality of buttons displayed on a touch sensitive screen," with "each button being associated with a plurality of characters or functions."

Here's how the patent is described in the complaint, obtained by MacRumors:
The '699 patent covers at least a touchscreen device having a plurality of buttons displayed on the screen, each button being associated with a plurality of characters or functions. When a user touches or taps on a button, the device will respond by displaying a plurality of characters or functions associated with that button. The device can also detect an applied force and direction of motion, which enables a user to simply flick or swipe their finger toward the desired character or function to thereby select that character or function.
There are several other embodiments of the invention, including physical thumb control pads on a mobile phone, notebook, or steering wheel in a vehicle, each with a multitude of pressure-sensitive, geometrically-shaped keys.

Various embodiments of the patent

The touchscreen embodiment does sound similar to how accented characters are managed on the iPhone keyboard. When a user taps on the E key, for example, a menu appears with diacritics such as È, É, Ê, and Ë. The user then slides their finger over the desired character and releases to input it in a text field.

Abe believes Apple's infringement extends to the Flick Keyboard, introduced in iOS 11 for select iPad models. When enabled, the feature allows an iPad user to simply tap and swipe down on a key to input a number or symbol. If a user taps and swipes down on the D key, for example, a $ symbol is inputted.

The complaint alleges that 3D Touch also infringes upon his patent, given its pressure-sensitive, multifunction attributes.

Apple is also said to be further inducing infringement by aiding and abetting the development of third-party iPhone keyboards and apps that implement flick-style keys and 3D Touch, available through the App Store.

Third-party Japanese keyboard for iPhone

The accused products include at least the following iPad and iPhone models sold in the United States: iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, 9.7-inch iPad, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

The complaint alleges that Apple has known of Abe's patent since at least as early as 2009, when he first gave written notice of its infringement. The plaintiff allegedly exchanged a number of emails with Apple, and engaged in at least one phone call with the company's in-house counsel, but no agreement was reached.

Then, in 2017, the complaint alleges that Abe discovered an increase in Apple's infringing activities relating to the release of iOS 11, prompting him to send Apple another patent infringement notification letter last December. Apple and Abe communicated again, through counsel, but nothing transpired from the talks.

Abe is seeking damages adequate to compensate him for Apple's alleged infringement of his patent, in an amount to be proven at trial, but no less than a reasonable royalty. The court still has to agree to hear the case.


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Most Useful 3D Touch Gestures on iPhone

3D Touch is a feature that's been around since the 2015 release of the iPhone 6s, and it's become an integral gesture system on all of Apple's latest iPhones.

Though it's been around for a while, there are several hidden and less obvious 3D Touch gestures that you may have forgotten or might not be aware of, especially if you don't use the feature often. In our most recent YouTube video and in the guide below, we've highlighted some of the most useful and lesser known 3D Touch gestures.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

3D Touch Cursor


Whenever you're typing something using the default iOS keyboard on the iPhone, if you 3D Touch, the keyboard turns blank and morphs into a trackpad that allows you to quickly move the cursor on the screen through the text you've written.

This is a useful gesture that allows you to make quick edits without having to reach up and tap the display.


If you hold the cursor over a word for a short length of time, you can also use it to select text for deleting multiple words, copying and pasting, formatting, and other purposes.

You can use this cursor gesture in Mail, Notes, Messages, and more on 3D Touch-enabled devices running iOS 11.

Control Center


In Control Center on devices running iOS 11, you can 3D Touch on almost all of the included icons to get additional control options and shortcut access.


Some of the available options are listed below:

  • Wi-Fi - 3D Touch the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth box to get additional options for AirDrop and Personal Hotspot.

  • Music - 3D Touch for additional Music control options both for the iPhone and for connected devices that include HomePod and Apple TV.

  • Brightness - 3D Touch the brightness control to see a larger slider and to access options for Night Shift and True Tone.

  • Volume - 3D Touch to see a larger slider.

  • Flashlight - 3D Touch to change the brightness of the rear flash, aka the "Flashlight." There are four brightness levels.

  • Timer - 3D Touch to choose a timer length using a built-in slider bar.

  • Calculator - 3D Touch to copy your last result.

  • Camera - 3D Touch to access quick options for taking a selfie, recording a video, recording a Slo-mo video, or taking a portrait.

  • Home - 3D Touch to access controls for your favorite scenes and accessories.

  • Screen Recording - 3D Touch for options that include screen recording to camera roll or Facebook, turning the microphone on and off, and starting a recording.

  • Wallet - 3D Touch for a shortcut to your default credit or debit card and an option to access your last transaction.

  • Notes - 3D Touch to access shortcuts to create a new note, a new checklist, a new photo, or a new sketch.

  • Remote - 3D Touch for a full Apple TV Remote interface.


Prioritizing App Downloads


When you're downloading a bunch of updates from the App Store, if you 3D Touch on an app that's pending, you can force it to download first. This is useful if you're stuck with an app that's loading but need to access it quickly.


You can also cancel downloads and pause downloads with this feature.

Bonus: In the App Store itself, if you 3D Touch on the icon, you can update all of your apps with a quick tap that doesn't require actually opening up the App Store app and navigating to the Updates tab. There are also shortcuts for accessing your purchased apps, redeeming a gift card or promo code, and conducting a search. Note: The "Update All" icon doesn't seem to appear reliably at all times, which may be due to a bug.

Previewing, Sharing, and Saving Photos


In the Photos app, if you 3D Touch on a thumbnail, you can see a preview of the image without needing to tap to open it, which is known as a Peek and Pop gesture. Swipe up after the initial 3D Touch to get access to options to copy a photo, share a photo, favorite a photo, or show additional photos from the same day.

You can use this same gesture in Safari and other apps that have images, such as Messages, Mail, and Apple News. For example, 3D Touch on an image in Safari, swipe upward, and you'll see options to save the image to your camera roll or copy it. Make sure to 3D Touch and then immediately swipe, because if you continue to hold down it will initiate a full "pop" gesture which eliminates the quick save option.


Bonus: 3D Touch on the Photos app icon to get access some fun and useful shortcuts to your most recent photos, your favorite photos, photos from one year ago, or a search interface.

Third-Party App Shortcuts


Apple made 3D Touch available to third-party developers, and there are now hundreds of popular apps that have incorporated it, offering up new options on compatible iPhones.


3D Touch, for example, enables pressure sensitive drawing and writing in note taking and sketching apps, and it's even been incorporated as a control method in some games. Blackbox, Asphalt 8: Airborne, and BADLAND 2 are all examples of games that incorporate 3D Touch in some way.

On a more basic level, most apps have Home screen shortcuts accessible using 3D Touch. Instagram, for example, lets you access the camera, create a new post, view activity, or switch accounts using 3D Touch options, while Facebook has shortcuts for things like scanning a QR code, searching, or writing a post.


Many apps also support 3D Touch gestures in app. For example, within Instagram or Facebook, 3D Touch on a thumbnail or a link for a preview of the content. These kind of Peek and Pop gestures have been built into quite a few third-party apps for a consistent usage experience on devices that support 3D Touch.

3D Touch-Compatible Devices


3D Touch continues to be a feature that's limited to the iPhone, and it's enabled through a built-in Taptic engine included in every generation since the iPhone 6s. 3D Touch is available on the following iPhones:

  • iPhone 6s

  • iPhone 6s Plus

  • iPhone 7

  • iPhone 7 Plus

  • iPhone 8

  • iPhone 8 Plus

  • iPhone X


Conclusion


3D Touch can do a whole lot more than what's included in this guide, and the best way to discover everything is liberal use of the feature. 3D Touch on third-party app icons to see what shortcuts are available, 3D Touch within apps to see if there are built-in 3D Touch gestures, and give it a try in all of Apple's apps, most of which have been built with 3D Touch integration.

Use 3D Touch in apps Messages, Safari, and Mail on links and photos to preview content with Peek and Pop or to find new sharing options, and 3D Touch on notifications to get more information.

Have a favorite 3D Touch gesture that we didn't cover in the guide? Let us know in the comments.


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Apple and Immersion Reach Licensing Agreement After Lawsuits Over 3D Touch and Taptic Engine

Immersion, a company that develops and licenses haptic feedback technologies, today announced it has reached a settlement and licensing agreement with Apple. The terms of the deal are confidential.


Immersion describes itself as the leading innovator of haptic feedback systems, with more than 2,600 issued or pending patents. The company, headquartered in San Jose, California, says its technology has been adopted in more than three billion consumer electronics products across several industries.

Immersion had filed a pair of lawsuits against Apple in early 2016, accusing the company of infringing on its patents with its haptic feedback technologies such as 3D Touch and the Taptic Engine on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and Force Touch on the first-generation Apple Watch and various MacBook trackpads.


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Craig Federighi Says 3D Touch App Switcher Gesture Will Return in Future Update to iOS 11

Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi has revealed that a popular 3D Touch gesture for accessing the App Switcher will apparently return in a future update to iOS 11.

Federighi, replying to an email from MacRumors reader Adam Zahn, said Apple had to "temporarily drop support" for the gesture due to an unidentified "technical constraint."

Question from Zahn: Could we at least make the 3D Touch app switch gesture an option in iOS 11 so that I could retain the ability to switch apps that way instead of having to double tap the home button?

Response from Federighi: Hi Adam,

We regretfully had to temporarily drop support for this gesture due to a technical constraint. We will be bringing it back in an upcoming iOS 11.x update.

Thanks (and sorry for the inconvenience)!

- craig

On devices that support 3D Touch running iOS 9 or iOS 10, users can press deeply on the left side of the screen, drag to the right, and release to quickly access the App Switcher. The gesture stopped working in the iOS 11 beta, and an Apple engineer later confirmed it was "intentionally removed."


MacRumors has verified this email exchange passed through mail servers with an IP address range linked to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California. Coupled with the fact Federighi has been replying to several customer emails since the iPhone X event last week, we're fairly confident in its accuracy.

Federighi replies have also revealed that Face ID will work with most sunglasses and that Apple has considered a Nightstand mode for iPhone X.


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