The quick launch wave
While rearranging your launcher icons to put your most often used icons on the Quick Launch Bar is a great way to ensure that you are only a swipe up away from accessing those apps, there is actually an even faster method to access these icons: the Quick Launch wave. Instead of just swiping up from the gesture area, if you drag up and keep your finger pressed against the screen, a wave will appear with your Quick Launch icons. Simply slide your finger to the right or left to find the app you want (the name of the app will appear above the icon) and lift your finger to open that app. While this doesn't exactly save a lot of time as compared to a simple swipe up, it does allow you to do things like accessing the full Launcher, opening a new web browser, or accessing your calendar all without leaving your currently open app (depending, of course, on what icons you have on your Quick Launch Bar
Note: The wave does not work if you are in a PDK app, just standard SDK (and we assume the future hybrid) apps.