Put the iPhone 6s next to its predecessor, and I’d challenge anyone to tell them apart. You start to notice the difference as soon as you put your thumb on the Touch ID sensor. Apple says that the new sensor is faster, and I was surprised to find that the difference – while small – is definitely noticeable. I had to use both a number of times to persuade myself that it wasn’t just a placebo effect, but I did end up convinced.

I’m going to play with the camera this evening when I have something a bit more interesting to photograph than my office and a view through the window of a very ordinary street, so mostly what I’ve been playing with today is the new Peek and Pop features using 3D Touch.

I was impressed by the idea – it was really this that persuaded me to upgrade despite my earlier doubts – and now that I’ve used it, I would now say there is no doubt at all: 3D Touch fully justifies the upgrade from the iPhone 6 … 

As you’d expect, almost all Apple apps use the feature – though I was surprised to find a few exceptions, like Activity, Pages and Numbers. I’d have thought peeking at your current activity rings would have been an obvious application there. There are also a number of third-party apps already taking advantage of it.

If you’re not already up to speed with 3D Touch, force-touch any compatible app from the homescreen and it opens up a contextual menu. It’s the direct equivalent of right-clicking on a Mac. For example, in the Messages app it offers you the opportunity to create a new message, including a shortcut to recently-messaged contacts.


Similarly with the Phone app, it offers you the choice of adding a contact or calling one of your Favorites – super convenient.


3D Touching Apple Pay offers you a choice of cards. I only have one registered, but if you registered several, this would be a really convenient way to make your selection.


The new iOS 9 capabilities of the Notes app get their own shortcuts.


3D Touch has also solved one of my irritations about the Camera app – I always seem to be on Video when I want to take a photo or vice-versa, and sliding between them is fiddly. On the iPhone 6s, you can get directly to either from the Home screen. You also get direct access to slow-mo videos and selfies.


I could go on, but a set of photos will tell the story just as well (click/tap to enlarge).

You can also Peek at content. For example, a text message confirming mobile payment for a parking space included a link to the website, and 3D Touching on this shows a preview of the website. Pressing harder opens the site. A great way to get a quick preview of a link to see if you actually want to open it.


Likewise, you can press on an email in your list and preview the contents. Here Apple was offering me Personal Setup on my new phone (nice of you to offer, Tim, but I’m good).


One thing I haven’t yet had time to play with properly, but am intrigued by, is the new trackpad feature. Press hard on the keyboard to turn it into a trackpad.


Selecting text on an iPhone can definitely be fiddly, so I’m looking forward to seeing whether that makes life easier.

I think Apple generally does well on its S releases. Siri was enough to persuade me to upgrade from the iPhone 4 to the 4S. Touch ID didn’t personally persuade me to upgrade to the 5S, but it was a decent headline feature. But 3D Touch … I’m already sold. I’m already viewing iOS 9 on the iPhone 6 as only half an upgrade. If you want the whole thing – and I think you should – you’re going to need the iPhone 6s.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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