Apple’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus both pack a new pressure-sensitive force touch screen known as 3D Touch that offers a faster, easier way to control your mobile. But what is 3D Touch and what are the real-life uses in iOS 9?
What is Apple’s 3D Touch screen tech in the iPhone 6s?
Apple’s 3D Touch basically gives you another way of interacting with the iPhone 6s’ screen. Until now, the iPhone supported a few simple gestures: swipe, tap, long-press and multi-gesture actions using several fingers at once. 3D Touch now also allows the iPhone to register the pressure of each tap, be it a light prod or a hard push, giving you a new and even faster way of interacting with apps and menus.
Of course, 3D Touch isn’t anything new by any means. Android has supported force touch screens since its early days (even if bugger all phone manufacturers have taken advantage) and we’ve seen various implementations of the tech in the likes of the Apple Watch and in Huawei’s Mate S.
So what use is 3D Touch in the iPhone 6s?
3D Touch can be used in all manner of situations to speed up navigation, but there’s other uses too.
1. Accurate handwriting recognition
Like the Note 4 with its pressure-sensitive S Pen, the iPhone 6s and new iPads will be able to accurately reproduce your handwriting thanks to 3D Touch. This should prove especially useful when the iPad Pro launches, complete with Apple Pencil stylus.
2. Quick and easy personalisation
There haven’t been any rumblings of this one, but we’d love the option to quickly change the iPhone 6s’ theme with a 3D Touch prod of the desktops. With new ‘live wallpapers’ on offer, this would be a great way to switch up to a fresh look and feel without piddling about in iOS 9’s settings menus.
3. Intelligent app shortcuts
There are two ways of interacting with your apps on the iPhone’s desktops: tap to open, or long-press to move/delete. But now you can 3D Touch an icon to jump straight to a specific feature. For instance, 3D Touch the phone icon and you can immediately call one of your favourite contacts, or 3D touch the camera icon to jump straight into the selfie mode.
4. Faster navigation inside apps
Likewise, the 3D Touch gesture can be used to quickly activate features within apps. So for instance, in the Apple Maps app, you can hard push on a location to immediately start navigating there from your current location, or even call the place.
Samsung had a similar idea to this on previous Galaxy flagships, where you could hover your finger just above the screen to bring up a preview of a photo or a weblink within a message. Neat idea, but it was a bit hit-and-miss and quite slow to register. Now you can just 3D Touch to do the same in under a second, without having to actually open a pic or browse to a webpage.
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