Apple is reported to be working on a new pressure-sensitive display technology, similar to the 3D Touch feature found in the iPhone 6s, but it won’t be ready for the next generation iPad Air or iPhone 7.
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.
Apple’s 3D Touch feature adds a new layer of control for iOS, offering “Peek” and “Pop” content previews, and Quick Actions shortcuts from the Home Screen. The technology builds on the pressure-sensing Force Touch tech used in the Apple Watch, and the trackpads in newer MacBooks.
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 report agrees with a research note, released earlier this week from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, that said the iPad Air 3 will be released in the first half of 2016, sans 3D Touch capabilities. Kuo says the new tablet is unlikely to include the pressure-sensitive capabilities due to issues in Apple’s supply chain.