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iPhone 6s hands on: This 3D Touch thing is pretty cool

by Brandon Russell | September 9, 2015September 9, 2015 4:37 pm PST

We know, we know. Apple’s new iPhone 6s is the same as last year. Same design, but with improved internals. There’s a new color, which Apple is calling Rose Gold. But there’s one new feature that’s going to take the iPhone and make it the most sought after smartphone this holiday season, and that’s 3D Touch.

You’ve seen the ad, right? Although the iPhone 6s looks and acts like last year’s iPhone 6, beneath that screen lies some impressive new technology that opens up a lot of possibilities for developers. This is one of those features we can envision being the marquee iPhone feature for years to come.

In a nut shell, 3D Touch determines how much pressure a user is applying to the display. And there are three different levels: tap, press and hard press. This is what allows users to take advantage of features known as Peek and Pop, introducing an entirely new dynamic to Apple’s increasingly stale OS. Rather than using widgets and shortcuts, users can Peek and Pop their way to the information they need.

Here’s a scenario where 3D Touch might come in handy: say someone sends you an address through iMessage. Rather than clicking on the address and jumping into Apple’s Maps app, you can press lightly on the link and the location will appear on the top of the screen; stop pressing and you’ll be right where you were in iMessage.┬áPress harder and you’ll jump right into the full map.

Apple demonstrated a lot of cool use cases with its own apps, but it also showed off how some big developers are utilizing the feature, such as Instagram. It will be this kind of developer support that will truly fulfill 3D Touch’s potential, and make it a must-have feature for iPhone owners.

And there are many, many more possibilities; Apple demonstrated quick actions, allowing users to easily get directions home or call a contact. Quickly tap on the camera icon and you can choose from options like take a selfie, record a video, or take a photo.

Apple says 3D Touch is such a big addition that “apps will never feel the same again.” That’s a big statement, but it looks like the technology will make a big impact for iOS users.┬áSure, the iPhone 6s features other improvements, like 7000 series aluminum, a 12-megapixel camera, and an A9 chip. But it’s 3D Touch that will make the biggest difference.

You can check out our brief hands on of the device in the video above.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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