3D Touch explained: Why Apple’s new technology such a big deal

“Now that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are out, 3D Touch is going to be frequently talked about as the technology matures,” Brandon Russell reports for TechnoBuffalo. “Basically, 3D Touch senses how much pressure you apply to the iPhone’s display. Isn’t that just like a long press? No, it’s really not. Apple says that when you press the display, capacitive sensors measure microscopic changes in the distance between the cover glass and the backlight. Apple’s software will then determine how much pressure is being applied, and dynamically adapt based on context.”

“In addition to gestures like tap, swipe and pinch, 3D Touch brings a new dimension to iOS with “Peek” and “Pop,” making it easier for users to get information at a glance at navigation between applications.,” Russell reports. “And developers will have free reign over how they want to implement the new technology into their apps.”

“Peek and Pop is available all across iOS, too, allowing users to preview links, glance at photos, and bring up contextual menus based on the amount of pressure that’s applied to the screen,” Russell reports. “It sounds a little daunting at first—we’re so used to navigating iOS in one way—but once you start using 3D Touch you’ll wish it was everywhere.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote of 3D Touch (née Force Touch) back in February:

And Android, littered across a veritable junkyard full of disparate devices, will not be able to follow.

3D Touch is the first ‘killer feature’ we’ve seen on the iPhone in years – September 25, 2015
3D Touch is an incredibly difficult feature that Apple got just right – September 16, 2015
How Apple painstakingly built iPhone 6s/Plus’ revolutionary 3D Touch over ‘multi, multi, multi years’ – September 10, 2015
Apple iPhone 6s/Plus’ revolutionary 3D Touch primes suppliers for success – September 10, 2015
3D Touch iPhone 6s/Plus: Apple’s pressure-based screens deliver a world beyond cold glass – September 10, 2015
Engadget hands-on with iPhone 6s/Plus: Using 3D Touch feels completely natural – September 9, 2015
Apple unveils the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus with 3D Touch, Apple A9, 12MP iSight camera, 4K video and more – September 9, 2015
Apple’s new Force Touch patent application reveals stylus, virtual paint brush, 3D buttons interactions – May 28, 2015


  1. It’ll be interesting to see how people with cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s deal with this new feature. Can it be turned off? Will there be apps that can’t be used without it?

    1. If anything, this should be helpful for many people with motor control issues- especially the home screen shortcuts. Once the thumb is on the target, with extra pressure (and feedback) there is the ability to get to a shortcut menu, rather than opening a program, acquiring new target menu, etc. If it doesn’t work as advertised the function can be turned off (and is also adjustable how much pressure is needed for “peek”.

    2. Bob, one of Apple’s basic tenets of both accessibility and discoverability is that difficult gestures need to be optional. They must provide convenient shortcuts for features that can be accessed else-wise. So swipes from the side, long presses, non-standard multi-touch gestures, all need to be extra shortcuts.

    3. Hey knee jerk Bob, how about the most basc due dilligence, iquiry and learning about the thing you ignorantly “question” challenge and cast igno doubt about (it’s all over the media) before you spout your idiot impulses and opinions, huh?

    1. Except we also have long press too, we still long-press to wiggle and move apps around and other stuff. 3D Touch adds an additional element to the mix. It feels so cool using it. I can’t wait until 3rd part apps begin using this not only on the app launcher home screen but within their apps as well.

      1. Exactly. All I hear from Android guys is that people choose Android because of “new tech first” and, I shit you not, “Flash.” Some douchetard just quoted Flash as a reason for Android superiority yesterday.

        Android, where tech guys revel in:
        • Outdated and unsupported software, like Flash.
        • Lack of security. All-or-nothing is no big deal to them and who needs updates?
        • Quad-cores and Octa-cores perform like a dual-core Ax chip from Apple.
        • 4GB of RAM to perform like 1 GB RAM iOS device.
        • Long tap is the same as 3D touch. Oh, iOS has had a long tap, too? “They musta copied that from Android.”
        • NFC first – despite only 5 nerds using it.
        • IR TV remote ability – Same Flash douchetard mentioned this, too. I’m so upset my iPhone can’t control every TV with IR tech. Maybe they can add “garage door opener IR” to it also, so I can drive down the street and open stuff.
        • Google Wallet still uses magnetic strip tech. WOW! And it stores all your purchases on the Google server to better target ads. THAT’S technological progress.

        Android guys really are tiring with their rhetoric. I guess when Samsung adds a floppy drive to their upcoming phones, we can hear all about that marvel.

    2. Well, I’m an Apple fan. But for me, it’s too much technology to end doing the same effect thing that a long press. Just look at the keynote video. Developers have achieved that for years.

      1. One is a long tap. The other is more like analog. The harder the press, the different the outcome can be.

        Unless you have a car gas pedal that continues making it go faster without pressing the pedal down further, in which case, you don’t understand that whole “pedal to the metal” phrase.

  2. Won’t all the Android smartphone makers simply steal the 3D Touch tech away from Apple? Every Android smartphone will eventually have their own version and all the pundits will claim Apple doesn’t innovate. It’s probably tech that Apple can’t protect for itself and that’s rather unfortunate.

    1. Clearly it won’t be easy to replicate the sheer technology involved. A display maker may be able to get close and then sell to many Android vendors, but each individual vendor won’t be able to afford the monetary investment needed to replicate the feature. This is a huge moment for Apple in delivering on their greatest strength — an elegant user experience.

  3. This is the crap that passes as innovation for Tim “the steward” Cook’s Apple. How pathetic. The sooner the board fires him and Ive, the sooner REAL innovation can resume at Apple.

  4. I’m getting the idea that there need not be just three detectable levels of pressure. It will be fun to see if apps can make use of a continuum of pressure. THAT would actually allow a real z-axis. Play time approaches…

  5. Fandroids don’t seem to understand the difference between short/long presses versus soft/hard presses. Short/long press is about the duration your finger touch the screen. If you press harder on the android crap, it doesn’t do anything. Iphone 6s and 6s plus have both short/long and soft/hard presses. Hope this helps the fandroid idiots out there.

  6. IPhine 6s is fast and smooth, 3d touch is pure cool and will become a staple, camera is amazing and that’s all for starters…

    Yep, “iPhone has plateaued, sales have leveled and Apple is a one trick pony”…

    Wait till the sails numbers become known on Monday…new records will be made, old ones shattered and FUDFest S will begin to ramp up in futile effort to spoil Apple’s repeat Xmas Bonanza.

    Bah Humbug to you trolls and Apple haters, ain’t no better products in the world, than Apple’s and you ain’t seen nothing yet.💪

  7. Eventually we’ll see a copy on Android and that is OK. What matters is that Apple is proving that they are still skating to where the puck will be.

    By the time there is a Sammy copy of the feature Apple will be inventing the next great thing.

  8. Well, it wasn’t enough to make me go out and buy a new iPhone. I’ll be looking forward to the feature though in a later version. 12 megapixel cameras in both models is a nice upgrade though. I’m on an iPhone 6 plus though and I’ll get more for my money in an upgrade if I wait a few upgrade cycles.

  9. You guys who still claim long tap is the same as 3D touch, really miss the fundamentals.

    1) Apple already has a long tap, unless you suddenly forgot how you delete apps.

    2) 3D Touch is essentially analog control and, if you think that’s not a big deal, time to swap out those PS4 controllers for the old 8-bit NES ones and see if a long hold in the direction of your choice changes the speed in a *controllable* fashion.

    You can always tell the people who think in ONE dimension.

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