The iPhone 6s is finally here and 3D Touch stands front and center as the device’s most intriguing new feature. With over 90 sensors packed into the display, the iPhone 6s can granularly detect how much pressure a user is applying to the screen. As a result, the iPhone 6s features the most efficient and powerful incarnation of iOS we’ve seen to date.
While the possibilities for 3D Touch are endless — especially in the realm of gaming — Apple has already found a number of good uses for the technology across its own selection of bundled apps. For instance, a heavy press on the camera icon enables users to quickly take a selfie. If a user heavy press on the Maps app, they can easily and more quickly share their location with friends or access directions home. Even more useful is Apple’s implementation of peek and pop, a feature which allows iPhone 6s users to preview content without actually opening up a new application.
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Now believe it or not, the iPhone 6s wasn’t actually the first smartphone to feature a pressure sensitive display. Beating Apple to the punch was the Huawei Mate S, a device that was unveiled in early September. Still, Apple’s implementation of what is effectively the same technology underscores how Apple’s design prowess remains unrivaled in tech.
To illustrate, one needs to look no further than Huawei’s clunky implementation of force touch. In fact, it seems clear that Huawei had a great technology at their disposal but simply couldn’t figure out how to make it all that practical and useful for end users.
For instance, and this is no joke, the Huawei Mate S comes with an app called “Fun Scales” which lets users put objects on the display and figure out how much they weigh, provided of course they weigh somewhere between 100 and 400 grams.
Talk about a gimmick.
Some other implementations of the device’s pressure sensitive display allows users to “activate home, back, and switching functions.” Additionally, using force touch in the device’s Gallery app lets users magnify portions of photos.
This video of the Huawei Mate S’ force touch display in action is far from inspiring.
And that’s it, more or less. Force Touch on the Mate S is a nice addition, but far from essential, and the areas where it has been included in the software still feel it’s early days. (Which, of course, it still is.) And there’s also the issue that it feels kind of weird to strongly press onto a surface that gives no feedback. On the MacBook’s trackpad, at least, you get some response through haptic feedback.
Now contrast that to 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s which has thus far received rave reviews, both in terms of its functionality and its implementation.