What Is Apple's New Touch Technology?

During its live event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Apple announced updates to its Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPad, and its popular iPhone. Apple revealed that the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will use 3D Touch — which the company called Force Touch for its other products — a pressure-based technology that simulates pressing real buttons. The system uses an extra-sensitive haptic system that will allow you to control certain software features depending on how hard you press. Overall, 3D Touch will make your iPhone experience more intuitive and seamless than ever.

Though this is an unprecedented feature for the iPhone, Force Touch is not new technology. Apple already employs it on its Apple Watch and in the trackpad of some laptops. However, the company has refined the technology for the iPhone — hence the new name, 3D Touch — and now it's even more advanced and touch-sensitive. Force Touch on laptop trackpads and Apple Watch, as well as most smartphones, respond to only two kinds of pressing, but iPhone 6S's 3D Touch is able to detect three different kinds of presses — a tap, a regular press, and a deep press. Each one corresponds to a different command and will engage different features.

Not only does Force Touch technology minimize navigation and excessive scrolling to get to certain programs or making certain commands, but it also paves the way for more advanced virtual reality in the future that will incorporate more textures and senses. For now, here's a look at all the ways users can use the new iPhone 6S's 3D Touch.

  • 3D Touch will allow more advanced deep-press functions, like quickly previewing a web page, a map view, or an email without having to open the app. If you keep pressing, you'll be taken into the feature.
  • 3D Touch will allow for a whole new array of shortcuts, like automatically going to your favorite contacts or voicemail by deep-pressing on the phone icon.
  • Users can automatically add songs to playlists by pressing a certain way instead of having to press on a separate tab.
  • Users can automatically bring up directions on Maps instead of having to press the point of interest, navigation button, and then the Start Navigation feature.
  • Pressing harder on the touchpad could play a Quicktime video at a different speed than a lighter press.
  • Automatically go to the "selfie camera" with one press, and then preview the shots by continued pressing.
  • Multitask between apps just by pressing the edge of the screen.
  • Use 3D Touch to better browse Instagram by blowing up photos without clicking into them.
  • 3D Touch will also revolutionize gaming by making it easier than ever to choose playing functions.

Doesn't your iPhone feel older already?