Apple to debut scalable 3D Touch tech for iPad-sized screens after 'iPhone 7,' source says

Posted:
in iPad edited December 2015
Apple is developing a new pressure-sensing display technology similar to iPhone 6s' 3D Touch that can be scaled up to iPad screen sizes, but the tech won't be ready in time for next year's "iPad Air 3" or "iPhone 7," AppleInsider has learned.




According to a source familiar with the matter, Apple is unable to scale existing 3D Touch technology to accommodate larger displays like the 9.7-inch panels used in the iPad Air line. The source, who has in the past provided accurate information about Apple's future plans, said the company is working on a comparable technology for integration in both iPhones and iPads, potentially offering support for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple's largest iOS device.

As a tentpole iPhone 6s feature, 3D Touch adds a new control layer to iOS, providing user access to Peek and Pop content previews and handy home screen Quick Actions. Apple announced 3D Touch as part of this year's iPhone unveiling, but curiously failed to incorporate the technology into the all new iPad Pro, which debuted at the same special event in September.

Billed by Apple as "the next generation of multi-touch," 3D Touch builds on pressure-sensing Force Touch technology introduced with Apple Watch and later added to MacBook trackpads. Whereas Force Touch uses a series of perimeter sensors to detect finger pressure, 3D Touch offers granular coverage across the entire screen by employing a bank of capacitive sensors integrated with the display backlight.

On iPhone 6s, 3D Touch measures the distance between iPhone's flexible cover glass and the sensor array, outputting force and location data for each finger press. Apple's next-generation 3D Touch will work on the same principle and should be transparent to the end user, the source said.

The information jibes with a research note issued by KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Tuesday that said Apple is unlikely to field a 3D Touch-capable "iPad Air 3" in 2016 due to production issues. Prior to today's forecast, some expected Apple's next iPad to sport 3D Touch capabilities as new technologies normally trickle down from iPhone.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Doomed. Let's celebrate Apple's imminent demise.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    It is perplexing that AI chose not to fully credit Ming since every other Web site did. Claiming a source gelled with Ming is a cop out. If I am wrong about there not being another source, I will not hesitate to apologize for my disbelief. 
  • Reply 3 of 23
    It is perplexing that AI chose not to fully credit Ming since every other Web site did. Claiming a source gelled with Ming is a cop out. If I am wrong about there not being another source, I will not hesitate to apologize for my disbelief. 
    This is a separate source. Our coverage of Kuo's note can be found by clicking on the article link.
    drunkzombieMuppetGate
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Again, I don't think that users actually care about this as long as pencil support is added while we're waiting.  Without pencil support, the next generation of iPads is basically a miss.  At the very least, there wouldn't be a really good reason to upgrade from the previous (current) version without it.  
    shameermulji
  • Reply 5 of 23
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    I've been waiting to upgrade my iPad Air 1 and iPhone 6 until two things happen:
    1. 3d/Force Touch
    2. Apple Pencil support
    If this rumor holds true, i'd say it will be at least 2017 that I upgrade both.  Maybe longer on the iPad Air since this device now seems to be reduced to a "2nd Class" iPad to Apple...at least that's how it seems to me based on upgrade cycles and the new features now relegated to the iPad Pro.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 6 of 23
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    Again, I don't think that users actually care about this as long as pencil support is added while we're waiting.  Without pencil support, the next generation of iPads is basically a miss.
    Agreed...As a design Architect (of the building industry type)  I can see a great advantage to using an iPad with the Apple Pencil.  However, after fully vetting all the features, for me, it's not ready for my kind of workflow.  There needs to be some serious advances in software technology for this device to become a primary device.  Here are some examples of how i would want to use the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil:
    I use a paper notepad every day.
    • I sketch on top of drawings using tracing paper every day
    • I annotate drawings digitally in Preview every day
    • I use an Architect's graphic scale every day
    • I share files those files via email and USB thumb drive on a daily/weekly basis
    • CAD/3d Software common to Architecture is currently not suitable for content creation on a tablet.  Those being Revit, Sketchup, Autocad.  They are programs specifically designed for a desktop GUI and there would need to be a serious revolution in the way Architectural content creation is produced for a tablet to be useful.
    • In all reality, a 12.9" screen is really too small for my type of work.  A work surface that's the size of a drafting table would be better, but even then a mouse+Keybaord is way more efficient and comfortable to use on a daily basis.  (less arm movement and quicker navigation).
    These are all things that the 1st party and 3rd party software solutions currently cannot accommodate on a tablet.  The iPad Pro for me is currently just a viewing device only and cannot accommodate content creation and sharing the way my workflow demands.  I've tried many different sketching apps and none work the way I work.  Which is how a LOT of architects work.  I'm a 15 year professional architect as well.  So it's not like I'm new to technology.  The Pro and Pencil are basically just for "other" graphic arts professionals. I'm not trying to say the iPad Pro and Pencil are duds, just that I don't think it's as natural to a creative professional like me.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    To be fair all Kuo said is there were "production issues", which is something that's rumored every time Apple launches a new product. At least this report corroborates what many of us suspected - that incorporating 3D Touch into larger displays isn't so simple to do.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    antkm1 said:
    Again, I don't think that users actually care about this as long as pencil support is added while we're waiting.  Without pencil support, the next generation of iPads is basically a miss.
    Agreed...As a design Architect (of the building industry type)  I can see a great advantage to using an iPad with the Apple Pencil.  However, after fully vetting all the features, for me, it's not ready for my kind of workflow.  There needs to be some serious advances in software technology for this device to become a primary device.  Here are some examples of how i would want to use the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil:
    I use a paper notepad every day.
    • I sketch on top of drawings using tracing paper every day
    • I annotate drawings digitally in Preview every day
    • I use an Architect's graphic scale every day
    • I share files those files via email and USB thumb drive on a daily/weekly basis
    • CAD/3d Software common to Architecture is currently not suitable for content creation on a tablet.  Those being Revit, Sketchup, Autocad.  They are programs specifically designed for a desktop GUI and there would need to be a serious revolution in the way Architectural content creation is produced for a tablet to be useful.
    • In all reality, a 12.9" screen is really too small for my type of work.  A work surface that's the size of a drafting table would be better, but even then a mouse+Keybaord is way more efficient and comfortable to use on a daily basis.  (less arm movement and quicker navigation).
    These are all things that the 1st party and 3rd party software solutions currently cannot accommodate on a tablet.  The iPad Pro for me is currently just a viewing device only and cannot accommodate content creation and sharing the way my workflow demands.  I've tried many different sketching apps and none work the way I work.  Which is how a LOT of architects work.  I'm a 15 year professional architect as well.  So it's not like I'm new to technology.  The Pro and Pencil are basically just for "other" graphic arts professionals. I'm not trying to say the iPad Pro and Pencil are duds, just that I don't think it's as natural to a creative professional like me.
    While Autocad and Revit would be a bitch to port to a tablet (probably insane to even try ;-), SketchUp wouldn't be that bad (or hard) I think.

    I do know a few architect that have started to use the Ipad pro in a wider way than you (though not as much as a graphic artist).
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 9 of 23
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,788member
    If the ipad air gets pencil support would it be harder for Apple to sell iPad pro?
  • Reply 10 of 23
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    foggyhill said:
    While Autocad and Revit would be a bitch to port to a tablet (probably insane to even try ;-), SketchUp wouldn't be that bad (or hard) I think.

    I do know a few architect that have started to use the Ipad pro in a wider way than you (though not as much as a graphic artist).
    I could definitely see an architect using the iPad Pro in many ways for sure.  But for a Design-based pro like me, it still needs a lot of work.
    I can definitely see an Architectural Illustrator, or a rendering professional using this on a daily basis.  I can see Architects using this in the field at Job-site for marking up changes and sending off red-lines to the team back at the office.  I can even see it being used with PDF-Pro for shop drawings.  There are many applications where this would be a great tool for people in my industry.  But for my workflow, as a lead designer who has a strong background in hand drawing, sketching and design work with physical tools, iPad Pro is not there yet.  Perhaps my age could be my bane as well.  Being trained classically (and by hand), it could be that my brain doesn't think in the digital realm the same way the younger generation thinks as well.  I don't design on the computer.  The computer is my tool for realizing my sketches and hand drawings.  I can sketch an idea much quicker by hand than digitally.  But that doesn't mean the software can't be more like hand work.

    I think the approach Apple took with the Pencil and it's software was sort of the opposite as my thinking.  With many advancements with Apple products, they take an legacy technology and provide another solution that's better than the legacy but approaching it in a more intuitive way.  Like how the iPad is way better at web browsing than the Macbook is.  They took the idea of web browsing but created a hardware solution that makes that experience so much better.  In the case of the Pencil, my assumption is that they looked at how drawing is handled on the Mac and the types off applications and UI that creative pro's use to create.  Then they attempted to make it better through the Pencil interface.  In my thinking...what Apple might have thought to do was to look at this from the standpoint of the Analog graphic interface and create a solution in the digital realm that was better and more efficient than the Analog, but in the same intuitive manner.  Instead, they went the reverse route of taking the Digital and tried to make it more like the Analog.  That might have been an easier way to approach the Pencil interface, but it's still not as effective and intuitive as the analog Pencil on Paper.  A perfect example of this would be the lack of any kind of eraser tech built into the Apple Pencil.  Just about every creative pro i've discussed this with have mentioned how this is an obvious miss.

    Another example, separate from Architecture or Graphics pro's would be marking up or annotating in Text editing.  There is very little pencil support in Pages or Word.  Think of how a school teacher might mark-up a term paper for students by scribbling over the document.  I guess the best way to do this digitally would be Adobe Acrobat or the 1st Part Preview app.  How great would it have been to be able to mark-up text documents the same way you do with the Analog solution?  Or marking up a Mathematics exam?  Or annotating a science paper?  Or the sheer fact that there is no hand-writing recognition in the keyboard interface for taking notes by hand?  Sure, there's a HW Rec Keyboard for Asian character but not for western Alpha-numeric handwriting.  Obvious miss with the Notes App there.  There are many ways the Pencil could have been integrated in a more analog way to productivity software that Apple already has but it's really lacking.  Perhaps that's Apple's ultimate goal, but regardless it's something to shoot for.

    So i look forward to the future of the iPad Pro and Pencil, but in the many ways i've outlined here, i think it's still a few years off.  Hopefully it comes sooner than later.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Apple pencil support and 3D touch isn't going to get people upgrading from their previous iPad.
  • Reply 12 of 23
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,572moderator
    antkm1 said: .

    Another example, separate from Architecture or Graphics pro's would be marking up or annotating in Text editing.  There is very little pencil support in Pages or Word.  Think of how a school teacher might mark-up a term paper for students by scribbling over the document.  I guess the best way to do this digitally would be Adobe Acrobat or the 1st Part Preview app.  How great would it have been to be able to mark-up text documents the same way you do with the Analog solution?  Or marking up a Mathematics exam?  Or annotating a science paper?  Or the sheer fact that there is no hand-writing recognition in the keyboard interface for taking notes by hand?  Sure, there's a HW Rec Keyboard for Asian character but not for western Alpha-numeric handwriting.  Obvious miss with the Notes App there.  There are many ways the Pencil could have been integrated in a more analog way to productivity software that Apple already has but it's really lacking.  Perhaps that's Apple's ultimate goal, but regardless it's something to shoot for.

    So i look forward to the future of the iPad Pro and Pencil, but in the many ways i've outlined here, i think it's still a few years off.  Hopefully it comes sooner than later.
    If pencil support comes to the other iPad models that would be the ideal time to update the other productivity apps as you outline here.  Or Apple could roll out such support in those apps concurrent with the next major iOS release.  That effort probably wasn't worth it for just the iPad Pro, at least at initial launch.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Again, I don't think that users actually care about this as long as pencil support is added while we're waiting.  Without pencil support, the next generation of iPads is basically a miss.  At the very least, there wouldn't be a really good reason to upgrade from the previous (current) version without it.  
    The really good reasons to update are better performance, more RAM, more flash storage and after I/O. Few of us really give a crap about pencil, almost everyone cares about sluggish apps, and onboard storage.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    antkm1 said:
    Again, I don't think that users actually care about this as long as pencil support is added while we're waiting.  Without pencil support, the next generation of iPads is basically a miss.
    Agreed...As a design Architect (of the building industry type)  I can see a great advantage to using an iPad with the Apple Pencil.  However, after fully vetting all the features, for me, it's not ready for my kind of workflow.  There needs to be some serious advances in software technology for this device to become a primary device.  Here are some examples of how i would want to use the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil:
    I use a paper notepad every day.
    • I sketch on top of drawings using tracing paper every day
    • I annotate drawings digitally in Preview every day
    • I use an Architect's graphic scale every day
    • I share files those files via email and USB thumb drive on a daily/weekly basis
    • CAD/3d Software common to Architecture is currently not suitable for content creation on a tablet.  Those being Revit, Sketchup, Autocad.  They are programs specifically designed for a desktop GUI and there would need to be a serious revolution in the way Architectural content creation is produced for a tablet to be useful.
    • In all reality, a 12.9" screen is really too small for my type of work.  A work surface that's the size of a drafting table would be better, but even then a mouse+Keybaord is way more efficient and comfortable to use on a daily basis.  (less arm movement and quicker navigation).
    These are all things that the 1st party and 3rd party software solutions currently cannot accommodate on a tablet.  The iPad Pro for me is currently just a viewing device only and cannot accommodate content creation and sharing the way my workflow demands.  I've tried many different sketching apps and none work the way I work.  Which is how a LOT of architects work.  I'm a 15 year professional architect as well.  So it's not like I'm new to technology.  The Pro and Pencil are basically just for "other" graphic arts professionals. I'm not trying to say the iPad Pro and Pencil are duds, just that I don't think it's as natural to a creative professional like me.
    This is a well thought out post! Unfortunately I don't think you will be seeing the right software anytime soon. Simply put it would be a large complex app with a minimal of potential customers. A vendor would have to be confident in getting hundreds of customers every year willing to pay several hundred dollars ( probably thousands) every year for the program. Beyond all of that it does seem like that the CAD vendors have gone stupid with respect to IPads and iOS. I really don't think they get it. My usage is slightly different in that the first need is for viewing of CAD electrical prints and other documentation related to the automation industry. The secondary needs are much like yours, annotations, sending updates via E-Mail - basically technical communications and sadly nothing I've come across really fills the bill. Part of the problem here is Apple and their bull headless with file access. Apple really needs to provide a common API for file access that works well for hundreds of files in a top down arrangement. Oh and we need for that API to provide a easy way to do things besides open the files. As you note E-Mail is a very common approach to file transfer. This API would be sort of like a Mini Finder that each app could leverage for file management. In short file management just sucks on IOS.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    entropys said:
    If the ipad air gets pencil support would it be harder for Apple to sell iPad pro?
    Why do you ask? Seriously I find this sort of question extremely perplexing, does Chevy have trouble selling 1 ton pickups because they also have half ton models, does a bolt manufacture have trouble selling 10-32 bolts because he has 1/2-13 available (not to mention hundreds of other sizes). The thing with iPads is that physical size more than anything dictates who will use the device and how they will use it. To put it another way I have sero interest in an iPad Pro because bigger doesn't solve any issues with respect to how I use an iPad. At least not at the moment. Faster, more storage and other features are what convinces me to update my iPad. Hopefully a new AIR isn't far off to make such an upgrade worthwhile.
    nolamacguy
  • Reply 16 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    evilution said:
    Apple pencil support and 3D touch isn't going to get people upgrading from their previous iPad.

    Exactly! I've been waiting for the right iPad Air to come along and frankly Pencil and 3D Touch aren't even considerations. Admittedly 3D Touch might be useful in a future iPad but it isn't an upgrade must. Performance and storage are everything on iPads and frankly I'm not sure Apple grasps that yet. ICloud has never been the answer to user needs, in fact it is an anti user solution to using the iPad as anything more than a consumption device.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    wizard69 said:
    evilution said:
    Apple pencil support and 3D touch isn't going to get people upgrading from their previous iPad.

    Exactly! I've been waiting for the right iPad Air to come along and frankly Pencil and 3D Touch aren't even considerations. Admittedly 3D Touch might be useful in a future iPad but it isn't an upgrade must. Performance and storage are everything on iPads and frankly I'm not sure Apple grasps that yet. ICloud has never been the answer to user needs, in fact it is an anti user solution to using the iPad as anything more than a consumption device.
    Personally, I don't think performance is a bottleneck to selling more iPads, neither is storage. I've got a gen 1 Air and it's still plenty fast, more of it (speed/storage), of which there is already enough, isn't a reason to upgrade - new and different features will compel users, not more of same that most users will already feel there is plenty in their current devices. Of course the new devices will be faster, but that alone isn't compelling, it's assumed all new devices get more - "what else" is what will compel users to upgrade.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    wizard69 said:
    This is a well thought out post! Unfortunately I don't think you will be seeing the right software anytime soon. Simply put it would be a large complex app with a minimal of potential customers. A vendor would have to be confident in getting hundreds of customers every year willing to pay several hundred dollars ( probably thousands) every year for the program. Beyond all of that it does seem like that the CAD vendors have gone stupid with respect to IPads and iOS. I really don't think they get it. My usage is slightly different in that the first need is for viewing of CAD electrical prints and other documentation related to the automation industry. The secondary needs are much like yours, annotations, sending updates via E-Mail - basically technical communications and sadly nothing I've come across really fills the bill. Part of the problem here is Apple and their bull headless with file access. Apple really needs to provide a common API for file access that works well for hundreds of files in a top down arrangement. Oh and we need for that API to provide a easy way to do things besides open the files. As you note E-Mail is a very common approach to file transfer. This API would be sort of like a Mini Finder that each app could leverage for file management. In short file management just sucks on IOS.
    Well, i will note that the addition of iCloud Drive App in iOS 9 does give some flexibility, and I think there are API's for that application for Software Developers.
    As for the right software for my applications and Workflow, I think the Notes app is probably the closest so far to my workflow, if they better integrated the drawing aspects with the note taking text input with Handwriting recognition and make it slightly more free form, it would be closer.  I like 1st part Apple Apps because they sync across all devices...which is precisely why i chose to switch to Apple's platforms 4 years ago.  They just work together so much better on a 1st party basis that Windows has not been able to accomplish.  It doesn't have to be totally complex...All i'd want to change in Notes would be as i just described, but also add:
    1. Actual number to the ruler tool
    2. A better idea of actual drawing scale on the screen, meaning if you are zoomed out all the way, is that real-life scale or some % of it?
    3. Line thickness in the drawing tools.
    4. Ability to add overlays to imported drawings.
    5. Ability to save/print as PDF or other digital format

    That's about it.  Simple and stupid.  More complexity is not intuitive.  Treat it like a real piece of paper.  Allow ability for the User to take notes and sketches like a real piece of paper.

    As a related side note...Morpholio makes an iPad Pro (only) app that looks very promising, but it doesn't have cross-platform/device sync like an Apple 1st Party app might.  So it's an intriguing app for someone like me and my workflow, but in practice is still limiting.
    edited December 2015
  • Reply 19 of 23
    wizard69 said:
    evilution said:
    Apple pencil support and 3D touch isn't going to get people upgrading from their previous iPad.

    Exactly! I've been waiting for the right iPad Air to come along and frankly Pencil and 3D Touch aren't even considerations. Admittedly 3D Touch might be useful in a future iPad but it isn't an upgrade must. Performance and storage are everything on iPads and frankly I'm not sure Apple grasps that yet. ICloud has never been the answer to user needs, in fact it is an anti user solution to using the iPad as anything more than a consumption device.
    What's your definition of the right iPad Air?
  • Reply 20 of 23
    At the very least, there wouldn't be a really good reason to upgrade from the previous (current) version without it.  
    you do realize that Apple doesnt expect normal people to annually upgrade their iPads, right? that isn't normal. as a techie even i dont annually upgrade my iPad. its more like a laptop in that it has a job-to-be-done. it does it well. apple doesnt need new feature bullets to entice normal people into annual upgrades. 
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