5 apps that showcase 3D Touch’s true potential

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Third-party apps are already jumping on board with 3D Touch and so should you.
Photo: Apple

So, you’re one of 13 million people to get a brand new iPhone 6S over the launch weekend. Congratulations, you now have access to a faster phone — potentially a rose gold one, better cameras, stronger aluminum and of course, 3D Touch. The latter is actually extremely useful, but it’s only as useful as developers allow.

Since the feature is brand new, 3D Touch mostly works with Apple’s stock iOS apps for quick application shortcuts on the Home screen, plus Peek and Pop inside apps to preview different types of content. A few productive developers saw the light and quickly updated their apps to support this drastically new way to use an iPhone.

You can tell that the future is very bright for 3D Touch as developers are just getting started figuring out how to unlock all of its potential. Until we reach that 3D utopia, here are five terrific apps that already do Apple’s latest innovation plenty of justice.

OpenTable

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Eating expensive food has never been easier.
Photo: OpenTable

OpenTable has been historically great with jumping on the bandwagon for Apple’s latest iOS or iPhone updates. In 2012 it was one of the first apps to take advantage of the iPhone 5’s larger 4-inch display, up from 3.5 inches. Now in 2015, it’s one of the first apps again to take advantage of 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and it does so wonderfully. You can 3D Touch the app icon to quickly tap into your favorite locations and upcoming reservations, then Peek and Pop within the app to get quick information about restaurants and even book a reservation in one tap. OpenTable is free for iOS.

Workflow

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3D Touch enhances your work flow in Workflow.
Photo: Workflow

3D Touch is a productivity feature and Workflow is a productivity app. Marry the two and you can get stuff done at lightning speed. With Workflow on iPhone 6s, you can quickly access four of your workflows from application shortcuts on the Home screen and immediately launch them into action. Plus, Peek into your workflows to get quick previews and editing tools or Pop into the full view and get started. As a bonus, Workflow includes iOS 9 Spotlight integration so you can search through workflows from Spotlight too, regardless of which iPhone you have. Workflow is currently on sale for $3.99 for iPhone and iPad.

Instagram

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Instagram went all out for 3D Touch support.
Photo: Instagram

When I received my iPhone 6s on the day of release, September 25, Instagram was the only third-party app I had installed on my iPhone that supported 3D Touch already. Plus, Apple heavily showcased Instagram taking advantage of 3D Touch on stage at its September announcement event — and with good reason too. Instagram includes shortcuts on its Home screen icon to quickly access direct messages, search, activity and to instantly create a new post. Once inside, Peeking into photos opens them from thumbnails and allows you to like, comment or share them right there. It makes Instagram insanely fast to use.

News360

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Read news summaries and save stories without ever opening an article.
Photo: News360

Probably more than any other app I’ve used so far, News360 really thought outside of the box to enhance productivity for 3D Touch users. Instead of just letting you Peek into a full news story, News360 will actually create a three-sentence summary for you so you can literally peek in to see if the story is of interest. If it is, then Pop in and read the full article. If not, lift your finger and keep browsing. The app also provides handy shortcuts on the Home screen for your home feed, top stories, local news and saved articles. News360 is a free personalized news app for iOS.

Magic Piano

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Tap or 3D Touch the circles to produce different sounds.
Photo: Magic Piano

3D Touch is great for work, but it’s certainly valuable for play as well. Magic Piano is one of the few apps supporting 3D Touch that doesn’t employ a shortcut menu on the Home screen, but it does implement 3D Touch in a creative way. Simply, the app pays attention to the force you apply to make your piano sounds louder or softer. Forcefully press on a note for a loud and dramatic sound or tap lightly for a softer, gentler sound. The implementation allows for more flexibility and creativity in the music you produce. Magic Piano is free for iOS.