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Apple recently launched the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus and as expected this was a minor upgrade to the iPhone 6 series, however this minor upgrade consists of a technology that will revolutionise the way we interact with the smartphones. This technology is called the Force Touch or the 3D Touch. Other than this technology being embedded there a lot more worthy upgrades and improvements in iPhone 6S and 6S Plus from its predecessors. This includes new 13 MP rear camera, which offers you 4K video recording, the same camera also enables you to take the live images and a lot more. Since this article is more about the 3D Touch technology and its usage in detail so we would not be focusing on other features. Let’s get started!

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What is 3D Touch?

Earlier, the interactions between the fingers and screen were 2 dimensional, the various types of gestures such as tapping, swiping and pinching that were being used by Apple to help users navigate and experience the digital world, were all working in the singular plane of two dimensions (working on the X and Y axis), but now with the introduction of the 3D Touch they have added another dimension which is the force, to help us interact with the device in new ways.

The technology has been implemented by using set of sensors embedded inside the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus that analyse the force with which you press the screen and performing the functions accordingly.

With this new technology Apple has introduced two new gestures, which are the ‘Peek’ and ‘Pop’. These two new gestures or interactions work on the Home screen as well as inside the applications. Simply press the icon on the home screen and it will give you a peep inside the application and continue to press it get a look of the content inside the application thereby giving you a glimpse of the content inside without actually opening the application.

Although the new gestures of ‘Peek’ and ‘Pop’ seem to be easy and fluidic to use but as Apple says and we could see that there is a whole new advanced technology that has been put together to get this working.

 

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How this 3D Touch technology works?

Apple has introduced a set of capacitive sensors (in the image above) that have been embedded under the backlight Retina Display, these are sensors, which measure the microscopic changes in force when you touch the screen. (Below is the image, which depicts the force, exerted on the screen and under it are sensors).

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These sensors measure the distance between the cover glass and the backlight, these are then combined with the signals from the touch sensors and the accelerometer to provide fast accurate and continuous response to the finger pressure. To make this communication between the sensors and the finger touch Apple has worked hard on the haptic feedback.

What is Haptic feedback?

Haptic feedback or just ‘Haptics’ is referred to the use of sense of touch in a user interface design to provide information to the user.

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Taptic Engine

To compliment the new gestures Apple has build an all new Taptic engine that helps the iPhone 6S to achieve the peak level vibrations in just 1 cycle which is normally achieved in other devices in almost 10 cycles (below is an image of the new Taptic Engine).

This above vibrations stop as quickly as they start thereby enabling the designers to create much shorter and distinctive events like the mini tap (used for the peek operation) that lasts for 10 milliseconds and the full tap (used for the pop event) that lasts 15 milliseconds. This shows how Apple’s hardware and software works together to create these beautiful interactions or gestures what we call.

Applications of 3D Touch in Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

The 3D Touch technology as mentioned above has introduced two new gestures of peek and pop and these find a variety of applications in the new iOS 9 (which will be released on 16th Of September).

 

  1. Peek the mails before you actually open them

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To get a peek into the email message before you actually open it, just press the email and a short window pops up giving you an overview of the message (just a peek I would say), so as long as you press it the preview will be available, to close it just un-press it and it goes away. However if you want to get a deeper look into the message and want to read it in detail just press it more hard and the full view of the message pops up as if you tapped it to open from the Email. Below is a series of images which show this operation.

  1. Peek into a website without opening the link

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Just as above if someone sends you a link to a website, you can get an overview of the content of the website by just pressing the link, just in case you would like to visit the website press it more deeply and there you go.

  1. Preview of the images just taken while taking the new images

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Now suppose you are taking images with your iPhone and you wish to see the image you just took, to do that simply press and hold the thumbnail of the images taken. To open up the image in full screen and edit, share or favourite it press deeply it otherwise let it go to clear off the screen and continue taking pictures.

  1. Peek at a location

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If someone sends you an address, you can tap and hold on it to view on the map and press it a bid more hard to open it up completely on the maps and if you let it go the peek view goes off. 

  1. Quick Actions

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The new gestures open up another option of what Apple calls ‘Quick Actions’, with this option you can perform frequently used options much faster and in fewer steps. Like an example you can starting a conversation with your favourite contact or opening a camera directly to take a selfie and many more. Most of the operations can be done with just a single click from the home button itself.

These all new gestures by Apple certainly are the steps towards a new direction in touch technology and are yet to find a lot more applications, the developers can now explore the potential of these new gestures and make their application more interactive especially in the gaming world where the developers have a great opportunity as Apple mentions.

Let us know what do you think about this new technology from Apple and for any queries or concerns use the comment section below.

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