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What is 3D Touch?

With the stiff competition between Apple and other tech giants, it is no shocking thing, the massive innovations constantly churned out in the smartphone industry.

With technology, all that was once considered impossible becomes not only possible, but just a tiny piece of more innovation to come.

Before we talk about 3D touch, when it came about, and it’s gradual but sad fade from existence, it is only fair that we commend Apple for bringing innovative technology to its thousands of users.

This Cupertino-based company has done an amazing job at setting the pace for other smart device makers to follow.

Talk about the easy navigation of mobile applications using tap, pinch, and swipe, and the first thing that comes to mind is how Apple created and introduced the multi-touch system to all iOS devices.

This revolutionary change in how we experience the use of smart devices was soon adopted by other smartphone makers and made available on some of the most affordable Android devices.

That was the beginning of the journey to 3D touch, now let’s discuss pressure-sensitive technology.

Force Touch: Pressure Sensitive Technology

Just when we were trying to get acquainted with the new multi-touch system, Apple hit the market with Force Touch. Force Touch is a pressure-sensitive technology that was exclusively on Apple Watch at the onset but was later introduced on MacBook, MackBook Pro and Magic Trackpad 2.

Force Touch Technology is able to distinguish between different levels of force or pressure levels applied to your device. Using this super cool technology, users have the ability to carry out some specific tasks quickly.

Take, for instance, you can force click your dates on calendars and reminders to expand them and go further to perform more actions.

What is 3D Touch?

Taking the Force Touch technology to a completely new level, Apple introduced the 3D Touch on its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices.

Apparently more sensitive to touch than it’s predecessor, the Force Touch, the 3D Touch has been engineered to function via capacitive sensors nicely integrated into the display.

How Does 3D Touch Work?

In terms of functionality, we can give it to the 3D Touch for been super smart. With the 3D Touch, you can carry out a number of tasks instantly using quick actions.

With this technology, you do not need to launch any application to carry out most of the commonly-used actions. Take, for example, if you desire to take a selfie, there is absolutely no need for you to launch your Camera app.

With a simple light press on your camera app, the option to Take a Selfie automatically pops up right on your Homescreen.

Peek and Pop

In order to master the use of the 3D Touch, you need to know how the Peek and Pop works. While the former is all about a simple light press, the later is a hard press.

If all you want to do is peek at a message, what you have to do is to press it lightly. And, if you desire to pop into the message and get a full view of it, you need to push it down a little harder. That is how the peek and pop works!

What Is The Difference Between Force Touch and 3D Touch

Force Touch is a technology that is smart enough to detect the pressure that is applied on your phone screen.

Force touch can detect not only multiple touches on your phone screen but also calculate the variance in pressure on different points of the phone screen.

However, while reacting to touch on your phone screen, Force Touch technology is not as fast as the 3D Touch. The 3D touch has a lightning-fast response as a result of the fusion of strain gauges and capacitive sensors. This amazing and functional fusion is perfected by the “Taptic Engine”.

The Future of Touch Technology

Knowing the amazing way that much 3D Touch technology has been appreciated by users of the iPhone 6s devices; there is no doubt that touch technology is going to get even better in the nearest future.

With the ability of 3D touch amazing to let iPhone owners make use of their smart device with more speed and convenience, we would like to think it is here to stay. Sadly, it is slowly going away, at least, on the latest iPhone.

No doubt, it is expected that android smartphone makers will be amazed by this new technology and immediately work out ways to cash in on it in a bid to enhance the user experience of their device.

Haptic touch takes over

The latest iPhone XR smartphones feature “Haptic Touch” instead of the not so common 3D Touch. According to a quick explanation by Apple’s Phil Schiller on this new feature during Apple’s presentation, he talked of the camera icon on the iPhone XR lock screen. He said: “You just press on it, you’ll feel a haptic tap, and you’re taken right to the camera [app].”

As the company points out, the hepatic touch is similar to the functionality of the Force Touch trackpad in the MacBook Pro device. When you press, what you feel is a haptic response. this can be likened to when you use the 3D Touch or when you press the Home button on an iPhone.

But let’s pause of a minute and think about it: That is nothing like the 3D Touch technology at all. I mean, from the information available, Apple is only including a haptic feedback to the normal long-press action that has been available on iPhones for as long as we can recall.

It does not make any difference, how hard you choose to press. It is just a regular long-press with added haptic feedback.

App Developers Didn’t Use 3D Touch

Here is the point of focus: Most app developers did not use the 3D Touch technology. Oh, we are aware that by now, a lot of mobile applications have included the option of quick actions, so you can easily hard-press their home screen icons and gain access to options.

But from what we know that’s only one tiny piece of the 3D Touch. Most mobile apps do not use the 3D Touch for a lot inside the application itself. Even if a few of them do, it is quite challenging for users to find out what exactly the 3D Touch can be used for, mostly since a wide range of common apps don’t use it.

A lot of iPhone users have to experiment, and almost every time they do this nothing will happen. This discourages them from wanting to even experiment further.

Apple launched the iPhone 6S with the 3D Touch feature in 2015, which means that app developers have had about four years to take advantage of this technology. But guess what? They are yet to take the bait.

The iPhone XR device does not support the 3D Touch technology, and it may even become one of the best-selling devices of the iPhone bunch, all thanks to its affordability compared to other products. App developers are not going to need a feature that most iPhone users will be unable to use.

These guys will have to design apps that come with normal long-presses rather than putting their energy into 3D Touch in hopes of providing more features.

However, 3D Touch may still be used in special art applications just for the sake of pressure-sensitive drawing. But what is guaranteed is that it will not transform the way any person uses an app.

It’s No Big Loss

To be honest, We all loved the idea of 3D Touch at the time of its first lunch. Adding a new and simple way of interacting with your phone was seemly a great one.

Hard-press could come in handy for all sorts of things, most especially in mobile games or drawing programs. It was no question that App developers could do a lot with this technology.

But, already four years on, and let’s be honest: 3D Touch is very weird and difficult to use or even learn. We know that most iPhone users do not know what it is, neither do they use it regularly if they are aware of its existence.

Most of the actions that require the 3D Touch could better still just use a simple long-press in its place. App developers still yet to jump on board.

While the absence of 3D Touch in the super cool iPhone XR may feel like a huge loss, that fact remains that it a loss that will go unnoticed because we are not losing a feature that a lot of people really knew or even took advantage of.

In fact, this may even be considered a piece of good news: It means that Apple will have no choice but be forced to redesign all the unnecessary and difficult 3D Touch actions into the simple long-presses that we know and love. Plus, long-presses are easier for most people to discover and understand.

This remains our humble opinion, and we would love to know what your take is. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.


Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ella Romena is a content writer, sociologist and Anthropologist who lives in Benin-city.

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