Want smartphone innovation? Apple's 3D Touch and Samsung's S Pen provide enhanced experiences

Engineers continue to push the limits of mobile technolgy and two recent developments from Apple and Samsung show innovation is alive and well.

There are a number of online articles lamenting the presence of black slab smartphones and stating there is a lack of innovation in the smartphone space. These articles are not written by the engineers pushing the limits of technology and by simply looking at two of the best new flagships, it's clear smartphone innovation is alive and well.

Samsung recently launched the Galaxy Note 5 and it is an incredible smartphone with the best ever implementation of the S Pen. Yesterday, Apple announced the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus that include an entirely new way to manipulate your phone.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the S Pen

The S Pen has always been the standout feature of the Note line and Samsung has improved it with every generation, often making improvements based on direct customer feedback. The S Pen functionality in the Note 5 is fantastic and I have already written more notes on the Note 5 display than I have on any other Note in the past.

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(Image: Samsung)

One major improvement is the ability to click out the S Pen and write a note on the display without ever turning on your phone. I've used this functionality more than any other S Pen action so far and greatly appreciate the efficiency of it.

I'm also a fan of the new Air Command menu that appears when you slide out the S Pen, including the ability to add two custom shortcuts. My productivity has also increased with the ability to click and drag items from one side of the display into the other side, and another app, with the S Pen.

Handwriting is used infrequently today as we rely on keyboards and phones to enter text. I love being able to write in cursive on my phone and save that writing. My creativity flows smoother with handwriting and I'm truly loving the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 5.

Apple iPhone 6s/6s Plus and 3D Touch

Since I just recently bought my own Samsung Galaxy Note 5, I was not sure I wanted to also purchase a new iPhone 6s Plus. However, since I missed the Apple keynote I watched it late last night. I was blown away by the new gestures present in the 3D Touch technology so now I'm planning to order a new iPhone on Saturday.

It's been a while since we've seen many innovations in gestures, although Apple did roll out Force Touch on the Apple Watch earlier this year. 3D Touch is similar in principle to Force Touch, while there is a lot more functionality while using it on the new Apple iPhones.

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(Image: Apple)

If you haven't yet watched the 3D Touch video, I highly recommend you visit the Apple 3D Touch website and watch it. You will see the new peek and pop actions that help you stay focused within one application and perform actions without having to jump all over the device, which is something that has always bothered me on iOS.

The available 3D Touch actions within email, messages, maps, and photos were very impressive. The Quick Actions are also very exciting and I can't wait to see how more efficient I am with the iPhone 6s Plus.