Some rough edges of a standout feature

“That’s four different ways to talk to Google on this phone, not counting apps like Maps and Gmail. And each one has a slightly different interface and provides slightly different results”

[..]

I quoted the above passage, though, because it suggests some rough edges regarding what is supposed to be the Pixel’s standout feature

— John Gruber

I don’t disagree . But consistency isn’t everything. To free-associate for 5 minutes on the subject of Force Touch (surely a stand-out feature, and moreover one that’s had 12 months to shake out the edge cases):

  • The weather app springboard icon force touch action has both a widget and the actions are nouns – quick links to recent cities. The clock app force touch action has no widget, and the actions are verbs (create new alarm, for instance).
  • The core “telephone” apps have different combinations of actions and widgets – Messages (no widget, “new message” and a list of recent contacts as actions), FaceTime (no Force Touch actions at all, but a widget listing recent contacts),  Phone (a widget listing recent contacts and actions, including contact search), and Contacts (a widget with recent contacts, and a create contact action, but no search this time).
  • Some built-in Apple apps have no force-touch menu at all (eg Videos, Find iPhone,
  • The “leaves” in the iPhone safari tab switcher have fake parallax as you tilt the phone, and respond to force-touch by flexing apart. You can long-press to drag them around. The “leaves” in the system task switcher do neither of these things.
  • Springboard icon force-touch menus grew a “share app” action in iOS 10. Unless you get at that menu from a spotlight search, in which case they don’t have it any more.

While I was looking at the weather and clock apps anyway,

  • The cities in the iOS weather app sync with their Mac equivalent (but the Celsius / Fahrenheit setting doesn’t). The cities in the world clock app do not.
  • To rearrange world clock rows you tap “Edit” and use the drag handles that appear. To rearrange weather rows you long press (not force touch, that does something different) and drag up and down. But both apps have swipe to delete.

Having said all that, Force Touch is amazing and you will have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. I just don’t think universal consistency on a platform is achievable in a world where you sill also have to actually ship things.