When Apple debuted its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in September 2015, the niftiest feature on the handset which lured consumers was 3D Touch.

3D Touch is essentially the name Apple has given the force-touch technology deployed by the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones. This subtle touch-based mechanism enables a user to swiftly gain access to common tasks.

Instead of simply tapping on an icon/screen to perform an action, 3D Touch enables the user to execute a set of actions depending on the amount of force one applies. So what can one do with 3D Touch you ask? Here's what:

  • Peek: You can preview or "peek" at messages, emails or links
  • Pop: You can launch or "pop" a link or message
  • Animate Live Photos
  • Swap from the trackpad to the keyboard or vice versa
  • Revert to the previous app you were using
  • Gain access to Home screen actions
  • Indulge in pressure-sensitive drawing (in tandem with the drawing feature on the Notes app); thinner or thicker lines will get created depending on the pressure one applies.

The 3D Touch feature is often seen as gimmicky and many iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus users (myself included) would agree that after a while you invariably forget it ever existed. In theory all the abilities seem useful — who doesn't like shortcuts, right? However, in practice, 3D Touch essentially saves the user a single tap or two at most, as well as performs actions a tad quicker.

The primary gripe users of the 3D Touch have is that only selected apps support the functionality. One may argue that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Skype, Dropbox and a bulk of Apple apps work with 3D Touch, but several frequently used apps such as Uber, Google Hangouts or LinkedIn and more are not compatible yet.

Users are also unhappy about the fact that 3D Touch does not work on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons so that one can select devices or networks one wishes to connect/disconnect to or from. It would also be handy if one used 3D touch on their iPhone's wallpaper and were offered a quick link to the Wallpaper section on Settings.

Does 3D Touch have any real benefit apart from saving a fraction of a second?

"Most of the time I don't see any benefit to using 3D Touch to reveal content in apps over just tapping to reveal that content the usual way. It's a solution to a problem we didn't have. And this says a lot about the problem with the way Apple has deployed 3D Touch in iOS," said  Jason Snell of MacWorld.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr

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