3D Touch is a technology that lets the user perceive different levels of pressure on a screen. Apple first applied it to the iPhone 6s. They presented that technology on the 9/9/16 keynote.
When the user touches certain parts of the screen, he feels a click. With more pressure, there is another click. It seems like the screen sinks a little bit. The most surprising thing is that it is just a sensation, the surface does not move.
3D Touch is also a brand. The marketing makes possible to condense and communicate a complex technology. But 3D Touch concept is under construction. The user does not always know what does 3D Touch mean. A language, a code of communication is taking shape.
Why 3D Touch is important
3D Touch is relevant for the technology and also for the marketing that there is behind.
- Technology. It opens new doors to great and exciting future applications. By now, we can surf faster and get information in an intuitive way.
- Marketing. We can see how the creation of new technology leads to a new name to identify it. As users, we can see all the process of brand creation.
First, we will try to understand why they chose the name 3D touch and then how they give meaning to that name. I mean, how to define what each part. Let's see that:
From Force Touch to 3D Touch
On June 2015, Apple launched the first generation of this technology multi-touch. With Apple Watch first generation and 2015 MacBook, users could feel a click when they press. The first name was Force Touch.
On September 2015, Apple launched the iPhone 6s and the iPad Pro. Now, users can feel not only one but two levels, two clicks. It is like it sinks a bit more. They now call that technology 3D Touch.
Why do they introduce a new name? At first, it does not seem like the right move. The original name: Force Touch lasted a few months. Changing the name of a brand that is only three months old does not make much sense. There could be some reasons for that:
- 3D Touch is a different technology, not just an improvement. There are reasons to think that they need to solve technical problems. By now, it is not possible to introduce 3D touch in all devices.
- 3D is an improvement. Force Touch means one click; 3D Touch means two clicks. The basic concept is the same, but there is a step ahead. With the change of the name, that advance gets more focus.
- The two technologies have to coexist. 3D Touch is an improvement, but they cannot update all the products at the same time. Some products need time to introduce the new features in the next iteration.
- Force could have some negative feeling. Technology and innovation have a more direct connection with the expression 3D.
- Many users in social media relate "force" to the force in the Star Wars films. That is not a negative relation. It is not a critical factor either. But it does not add to the brand, it just confuses. Untying this bond could be a factor, a little one. It is something to keep in mind when a new name became a possibility.
Mix the names
Sometimes, the use of "force" and "3D" are confusing. Even experts, at some point, used both terms as equivalents. Other times the difference is ambiguous.
In the video presentation of the 3D Touch technology, Jony Ive also talks about Force (Minute 00:55). "3D Touch is the next generation of Multi-touch. For the first time, along recognizing familiar gestures, iPhone also recognizes force". Why talk about Force again? It is a bit confusing. Perhaps it is just a way to explain the transition, the change from "force" to 3D.
What does 3D mean
With Force Touch, you could feel one click, but an important thing was missing "what does it mean." You could press different buttons, and sometimes nothing happens. Other times the reaction is different.
The technology is just fantastic. You had the sensation that your finger sinks but it is just an illusion. It is magic. However, we do not know what does it mean. The technology without a communication code is just useless.
With 3D Touch, the brand began to fill the actions with meaning. Now the first level, the first click, means a glance about what you touch. It is a fast, almost instant, information. If you stop the pressure at this moment, you come back where you were. The second level, the second click, means go to the place.
It works in most of the Apple applications. Developers will apply that to other apps soon. It will need time. The users will try the 3D Touch in places, and perhaps nothing will happen there. But now we already have a code, and that is important to give meaning to that brand.
Apple applies that meaning to their apps. Developers have detailed instructions in the Developer Documentation. This way, the user will have a precise idea of what it means one and two 3D touches.
Peek, Pop, this is still confusing
Now to select we have three possible levels:
1- The touch selects.
2- The first press gives the basic information. The user feels a click. There will be different options with the most common actions possible. If you stop pushing, you go back to where you were. It is what Apple calls "Peek." The dictionary calls this "a quick and typically furtive look."
3- If you press more, you feel the second click, and you stay in the selected place. They call it, "Pop."
The words Peek and Pop to label each level of pressure are an attempt to give meaning to the brand. A way to be able to talk about each type of pressure without the need to make all the explanation.
We can live how a new code is born. Apple builds a language to describe the whole: 3D Touch technology and some of their parts: Peek and Poop.
When we discover something new, the first step is to compare. We establish a relation with what we already know and is familiar. For example, when men created the space travel or even imagined it, we called it "ship." Those were the closest transport we knew at the moment. So we talk about spaceships, this is a short way to say: this is like a ship, but this one is in space and not on the sea.
Apple faces an all-new technologic world. They have to explain it to many people, most of them not tech savvy. They are making an effort to build the words of a new language. It could make what is new, easier to explain and closer to the user.
I think the words Peek and Pop are still confusing even for English speakers. We just have to see how journalists and bloggers use them. We will see if the general public makes those words part of their everyday language.
We are in front of a whole new technology with new possibilities and discoveries that are to come. We will need new words that could be sub-brands that Apple could create.
What can the small firms learn about the brand 3D Touch
We can learn many things and apply it to small companies.
Even the farmer in the local market has a brand: the family name of the person. He needs regular customers. The brand needs something to make it easy to identify and distinguishable from others. It could be the personal touch. Perhaps it is the size of one of his products, like the apples. Maybe the tomatoes have a deeper red color, or the origin is relevant for us. Whatever the difference, it must be distinguishable and sustained over time. A brand meaning defined and stable.
If there is a shop, firm or professional that you trust, you want to go back for their services. You foresee that you will have an experience that you already know, and like. If this is the case, that firm is consistent. It has continuity in something that you appreciate. When you think about that business, you remember that characteristic. Perhaps it is just a feeling. That is its brand condensed and transmitted by the name.
The features and sensations around the name create a code of language. A way to communicate with the customer. In this post, we have seen how Apple build that with 3D Touch. It is much easier with an existing product or service.
The name and the brand help to identify and share the technology with others. On top of that, there must be a communications system, a clear defined meaning, to be useful.
A brand is a name that gives form to some characteristics that have something in common. That makes the product different from the others. With 3D Touch, a new brand was born that defined a new technology. The meaning of that brand is growing in front of our eyes.
We are lucky to be able to live the creation of a new world with leading technologies. There is so much we can learn and apply to smaller firms or entrepreneurs projects.