The 3D Touch Revolution is coming…but you might have to wait for it.

Oct 27, 2015 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

As Apple demoed in early September of this year, 3D Touch was the “the next generation of Multi-touch”. The only implementation we’ve seen thus far from apple and in other 3rd party apps is quite simple. We got App Shortcuts, Peek and Pop and that’s it.

This means Apple has only implemented 3 levels, forces or ‘depths’ of touch: Tap, Medium Press and Deep Press for regular touch interactions (so 2007), Peek and Pop respectively.

But there’s so much more!

The APIs for 3D Touch show 2 properties within UITouch events which are of note.

The first is force, which returns a quantification of how deep the press is, all the way from 0 to 6.66666667

The other is maximumPossibleForce, which is the latter number above.

What’s even cooler is that up to 5 simultaneous 3D Touch presses can detected.

As shown recently, FlexMonkey and I demonstrated that force can be measured with much more granularity than the 3 depths we currently have represented on the app store.

Once devs have that force number, it can be quantified by a percentage, and a weight, which maxes out at about 430 grams.

Wait for it…

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have only been in devs hands for about a month at this point, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more apps taking advantage of it.

But there is a caveat to this.

According to Apple’s Accessibility and Human Interface Guidelines for 3D Touch:

“When 3D Touch is available, take advantage of its capabilities. When it is not available, provide alternatives such as by employing touch and hold.”

What this means is that Apple doesn’t want to open the floodgates on 3D Touch just yet, and rightfully so. If an app is submitted that relies exclusively on 3D Touch to be functional (like weighing fruit), it will most likely be rejected from distribution on the App Store because there are no alternatives to that functionality, and this leaves hundreds of millions of iOS users out of the fun.

If, however, we start to include force and maximumPossibleForce in our existing apps in clever ways, or can come up with alternative gestures like longer presses or two or three finger taps, then this is the way forward.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m sure the entire iOS lineup will be equipped with 3D Touch, but until then, this will just have to be this year’s Turn-by-Turn Navigation. If we could wait for that, we can hold out a little longer.

Update: Seems as though these types of apps are getting rejected

If you’re a developer, Github Repo for the above app is here, including UITouch extension for percentage and weight.


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