It’s been 6 months since 3D Touch was unleashed upon the world. And it’s fair to say it hasn’t taken the world by storm. I asked around half a dozen iPhone 6s users if they used the feature. Most of them said no. The power users had nothing but complaints about it.
To be fair, Apple, as always, has managed the hardware aspect of it pretty well. The pressure sensitivity works well, the feedback on every level is succinct. Plus, the new Taptic engine does its job well.
The problem with 3D Touch is the software implementation. I personally only use 3D Touch a handful of times.
Quick Actions: Resuming a podcast in Overcast or going to Cellular settings via Launch Center Pro.
Peeking in Tweetbot: I don’t use Peek and Pop anywhere other than in Tweetbot. Here it’s actually useful to quickly view media and replies.
Cursor: This is not easy to get used to but once you do, you wonder why text selection doesn’t work like this everywhere. When you have the keyboard open, you can 3D Touch once to move the cursor. A deeper 3D Touch even lets you select text.
And that’s it really.
What’s standing in the way of 3D Touch being better is how 3D Touch is designed. It doesn’t have any visual cues. It’s inherently hidden. And in general, UI can’t, or shouldn’t be like that.
This is a big thing to ask but if Apple figures out a way to integrate 3D Touch into the visual UI itself, that would be awesome.
And if 3D Touch is going to continue to be like shortcuts, at least make them more widespread and consistent. Adding 3D Touch shortcuts to Control Center to quickly switch Wi-Fi networks would be amazing.
Right now, 3D Touch actions can be thought of as keyboard shortcuts. A faster way. But for doing the same thing.
Instead, 3D Touch could open a whole new world of contextual information. We’ve already seen jailbreak tweaks that show widget-like information instead of Quick Actions.
If Apple is willing to take this to its logical conclusion, we could end up with 3D Touch revealing more, better information across apps. Let’s say you 3D Touch on a graph in a finance app and you get a detailed information on a particular stock.
This is similar to Peek. But instead of “peeking” into a screen you can later “pop” into, you’re getting a specially designed view.
All in all, I just want 3D Touch to escape the sidelines and be something of its own. Hopefully, Apple will figure out those use cases. Or at least, they’ll give developers proper tools so someday a developer can come up with a killer 3D Touch implementation.
Do you use 3D Touch regularly? How do you think Apple should do to improve it? Drop us a line in the comments below.