One of the best new features of the brand new iPhones that Apple announced on Wednesday is called 3D touch.
3D Touch senses how hard you press on the iPhone’s display, and different amounts of pressure perform different tasks. If you press lightly on a link, for example, a preview of that webpage will appear, but if you press harder, you’ll be taken to that page. The same goes for photos and email.
Josh Tyrangiel, editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, got an inside look at how Apple created this new way to interact with your iPhone, and it turns out that the company has, unsurprisingly, been developing it for quite a long time.
Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, told Tyrangiel that the new feature “is something we’ve been working on for a long time — multi, multi, multi years.”
In the piece, which is the cover story for the upcoming issue of Bloomberg Business, which hits newstands on Friday, Tyrangiel explains just how Apple got 3D Touch, iterations of which it already uses on the Apple Watch and some laptops, works on the iPhone:
Working with Corning, Apple created pliable iPhone cover glass. Swipe it, and the phone works the way it always has. But press it, and 96 sensors embedded in the backlight of the retina display measure microscopic changes in the distance between themselves and the glass. Those measurements then get combined with signals from the touch sensor to make the motion of your finger sync with the image on screen.
Tyrangiel not only interviewed Ive, but also Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, and Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing boss, along with other executives.
The full story is definitely worth a read, so head over the Bloomberg Businessweek to check it out.
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