Don’t call it Force Touch — Apple’s new flagship feature 3D Touch is a completely different software implementation of the technology that is already available on the Apple Watch and the new MacBook trackpad. 3D Touch is by far the most important improvement in the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. It’s going to change the way we interact with our phones. But first, let’s talk about what 3D Touch is and what it can do. Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi called it “the next generation of multi-touch.” While this is a hyperbolic marketing statement, it is somewhat true. With your current phone, you can tap, swipe and pinch on your screen.
These three gestures alone were already huge as they changed the way designers worked — you can’t design a website like an app. Over the years, many clever gestures appeared to make you do stuff faster. For example, Loren Brichter introduced pull-to-refresh in feed-based apps with his Twitter client, Tweetie 2.0. Path 2.0 introduced clever floating shortcuts. Facebook invented the hamburger menu that is now slowly going out of fashion. Snapchat made swipeable menus popular. Mailbox, Tinder and so many other apps invented neat little ways to replace simple on-screen buttons.