Apple has a reputation of bringing major breakthroughs in the technology industry, whether it was the Multitouch feature on the iPhone, or the Force Touch in the MacBook and later the Apple Watch. With the iPhone 6S, Apple has introduced 3D Touch, revolutionizing the way we interact with our smartphones.
At the hardware level, 3D Touch is ‘simply’ a layer of capacitive pressure sensors placed underneath the screen that measure the amount of pressure you are applying with your finger while touching the screen, and react accordingly. Also, the iPhone lets you know that it is measuring your finger pressure by giving “subtle taps” as a response. This enhanced interaction between the software and hardware provides better functionality to the iPhone as it attempts to interpret what you aim to do next. It’s here that Apple introduces the terms “Peek” and “Pop”. The peek feature allows you to have a quick preview of a mail/location/link without actually opening it. Just touch it lightly and a peek window opens with a preview of the selected item. Here, you have some more options, such as copying a particular link, or saving a link to your reading list in Safari, or sliding left to mark the mail as read, and sliding right to archive it in Mail. And all this without having actually opened the app. If you don’t find the content useful, simply lift your finger off the screen to close the peek window and return to the original window where you were. However, if you wish to have a more detailed look of the content you see in the peek window, simply press a little harder or as Apple says, “pop” it to open the specific content in its own built-in app. This feature is useful as it saves you from the hassle of uselessly opening separate apps and juggling between them.
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As of this moment, this feature is available only in the Apple apps, however, we can soon expect developers to implement this feature in their own apps and games. Apart from the peek and pop features, 3D Touch also allows better functionality in several apps. Such as, if you are typing a mail, simply press the keyboard to turn it into a trackpad. You can then use the on-screen cursor to select text and perform different operations. If you are up to shading or scribbling in the Notes app, press hard for darker shades and alternatively press lightly for fine lines. Similarly, press the left side of the home screen to bring up the multi-tasking view. Also, 3D Touch allows you to create Live Photos by recording a second and a half of video before and after the pic is clicked. You can then 3D touch the pic to view the clip or you can set it as your lock screen and press it hard to see your wallpaper move around.
While these features, apart from the peek and pop, sound like pure gimmick, just wait till developers implement this functionality into their apps and games and this will totally change the way we interact with our smartphones, which, at the end of the day are simply chunks of microchips and glass.