I was raised by a self-avowed "lost cause" when it comes to technology, so I'll admit a bias: When Apple on Wednesday announced a new crop of iPhones with fundamentally different features than existing models, I thought, "Old people are never going to get this."
It's not just because when I visited home this past weekend, I spent a huge chunk of time trying to figure out how to update my mom's iPhone from a version of iOS 6, which first came out three years ago.
Apple's 3D Touch feature, which will be included in the new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus models when they're released later this month, shakes things up a bit. Put simply, 3D Touch allows your device to recognize different types of force on the iPhone's screen. Instead of your iPhone responding the same way to a heavy press and a light tap, it'll do different things in response to each.
This means a lot of different things in practice, but maybe the most alluring is the ability for iPhone 6S owners to use 3D Touch gestures to activate app functions directly from the home screen. If you want directions home from your current location, you can touch the Maps icon a certain way to pull up a shortcut menu, then tap the function -- all without having to open the app and navigate a series of menus.
In a certain sense, 3D Touch seems like it's doubling the amount of stuff your iPhone could be doing at any given time. A lot of old-timers I know are practically overwhelmed by what their iPhone does already.
Or so I thought. My own mom was at the dentist when reached for comment today, so I got the next best thing: My longtime girlfriend's mom. She's an iPhone user and one of the smartest people I've ever met -- but no one would call her tech-savvy.
I asked if I could explain 3D Touch to her over the phone to see if she "gets it." Not only did she get it, she's totally excited about it.
Here's how that conversation went down.
Would you describe yourself as a beginner, intermediate or advanced iPhone user?
I've had an iPhone for years, but I still feel like a beginner, even though I know my way around the things that I need it for.
I don't use it to its fullest capability, but I use a lot of stuff that I couldn't do before. I've learned how to do a lot of stuff that I couldn't do on a computer: How to look for things, how to send emails. Simple stuff. Cut and paste. Add people. I use my flashlight feature and my find feature. I've come a long way.
When you say "fullest capability," what does that mean?
Honest to God, I don't know. My husband gets a phone or any kind of technology, and he's beside himself with all the things it does and tells me what I can do. I don't pay that much attention. This is a big thing for me: I've just started doing all of my music on my iPhone, and I resisted that for years. I didn't think I could access it easily. Now it's all I use.
Do you use Apple Music?
No, I use Spotify and I use Google Music.
But you don't feel like you're missing out on anything, even if you can't use your iPhone to its fullest capability? You're comfortable with how you use it?
I'm comfortable with how intuitive it is.
How much do you use your iPhone every day?
I use it all day and night. I have home security -- I monitor the cameras outside the house with it.
Okay. If I told you that your next iPhone is going to fundamentally work a bit differently than the one you have, how would that that make you feel?
I guess I would just want to know what "a bit differently" was. What I like about the iPhone is even if I don't know what I'm doing, I can figure it out. I tried having an Android, and I couldn't use it. I don't care about the rest of it. I don't care about the changes. I just want to get in and figure it out.
If I told you your next iPhone will have something called 3D Touch, what do you think that would mean?
3D Touch … God, I don't know. The first thing that comes to mind is that I'm looking at an image in 3D that I would be able to control the functionality with.
Do you ever wish you could do more on your iPhone without actually opening apps?
So, the new iPhones will be able to respond to different types of touch differently.
What does that mean?
Have you played with an Apple Watch?
No. My husband has the Android version.
Well, basically you can touch the phone in different ways and it'll do different things. Like, normally you just touch your iPhone and it does the same thing no matter how hard you're pushing. Depending on how hard you touch the new iPhone, it'll do different things. For example, you can touch an app on your home screen a certain way and it'll give you options without you having to navigate all of the menus and stuff within the app itself.
I really like that. The most frustrating thing to me is that every simple thing, I have to go through a bunch of steps. I spend so much time with passwords and all that stuff.
I hear you. If you went to the Apple Store to get your iPhone fixed and the person at the Genius Bar said to do a "deep press," would you know what that means?
I would think it's more pressure with my touch.
You totally get it! Would you buy a new iPhone for this?
I literally just got this phone. I can think of 10 different people around me who would, but I don't think I would. The next time I'm up for a phone, I would.
Looks like Apple might just have a hit on its hands -- if this cool mom's opinion is anything to go by, at least.
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