Hands-On With 3D Touch on the New iPhone 6s Plus
The standout new feature of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is 3D Touch, which Apple is billing as an evolution of Multi-Touch. The new feature allows the display to sense how much pressure is being applied, opening up new ways for users to interact with their phones. We went hands-on with the 6s Plus and explored what the feature is capable of.
3D Touch can be used both in and out of apps. Outside of apps, on the Home Screen, a user can press down on an app's icon to quickly interact with the app. This feature is called Quick Actions. For instance, pressing on the Phone app allows you to quickly call a recent contact. Or, pressing down on the Camera icon allows you to quickly take a selfie.
Inside of apps, 3D Touch allows users to "Peek" and "Pop" into their content. For instance, within the Messages app a user can press down on a contact's message thread to see their latest message and then press down harder to Pop into the thread to reply. Finally, 3D Touch can be used to turn the keyboard into a trackpad.
Apple notes that creating 3D Touch was "unbelievably hard", and that the company had to work with Corning to create a new pliable iPhone cover glass. When the glass is pressed, the 96 sensors embedded in the backlight display to measure microscopic changes between it and the glass. The measurements are combined with the touch sensor to sync finger motion with images on the screen.
On first impression, users are enjoying 3D Touch. MacRumors forum member jsmith189 said he thinks it could become an integral part of navigating an iPhone.
I really enjoy the 3D Touch - while there aren't too many apps that use it right now, I can definitely see it becoming part of my everyday 'without thinking about it' navigation.
Other users, like forum member Boardiesboi, note that the feature does take getting used to and that he adjusted the sensitivity on the feature so that it responds to lighter touches.
Users who prefer to use screen protectors on their devices shouldn't hesitate to purchase one for the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, as Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller confirmed in an email to 3D Techtronics that screen protectors would work with the new display technology as long as they comply with Apple's design guidelines.
While 3D Touch is mostly compatible with Apple apps so far, third party companies are likely to embrace the new functionality in their apps in the near future. Today, Twitter updated its app to take advantage of the feature, allowing users to quickly access search or compose new tweets from the home screen.