Huawei beats Apple to a smartphone with Force Touch

Huawei's Mate S can weigh an orange on its Force Touch display. Photo: Huawei

Huawei’s Mate S can weigh an orange on its Force Touch display. Photo: Huawei

Apple may have been the first to put Force Touch technology in a smartwatch, but Huawei has beaten the Cupertino company to putting it inside a phone.

At the IFA trade show in Berlin today, Huawei used the Force Touch display in its new Mate S smartphone to weigh an orange, a week before the technology is expected to make its way to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

“It might sound slightly surreal (and it was), but the demonstration got by far the biggest cheer of the event from the crowd,” writes James Vincent of The Verge. “Perhaps in part because Huawei might have just stolen a march on Apple.”

It’s a shame Huawei didn’t weigh an apple instead of an orange to really rub it in.

Of course, Force Touch isn’t just for weighing fruit; it also adds a new method of control to touchscreen devices. On the Apple Watch, for instance, it can be used to access settings menus that there are no buttons or gestures for.

Huawei’s Mate S uses Force Touch and a new feature called Knuckle Sense to distinguish between input from fingertips or knuckles. For instance, users can quickly launch apps by drawing letters on the display with their knuckle.

Huawei is also giving fans the opportunity to help shape its Force Touch technology with the Force Touch Idea Lab, where you can submit your ideas on how it could be used in the future.

The only downside to Force Touch on the Mate S is that it will only be available in select markets, according to The Verge, and it’s currently unclear which ones.

No matter where you buy the Mate S, however, it will come with 2.5D curved glass covering a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with optical image stabilization, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2,700mAh battery.

The Mate S is powered by Huawei’s own octa-core Kirin 935 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, alongside the EMUI 3.1 platform based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.