Let's talk a bit about 3D Touch. Let me first start by asking: what the heck would a touch be if it weren't done in 3D??? I suppose it would be a touch made through my mind. Which means that Apple, by naming it "3D touch," is simply reminding us that they have yet to perfect the ability for phones to be worked through the mind. Damn, Apple, what's taking so long? I'm dying for the Transcendental Touch iPhone. It can't be explained how it works...at least not in the phenomenal realm, that is.
Having said that, let me get to my real issue: why the hell do we care about 3D touch in the first place?
If you don't know what 3D touch is, first of all, good for you. You should stop reading now and continue your life in ignorant bliss. Your old phone, whatever it is, is quite amazing (unless it is like truly ages old, but as long as it like takes pictures, goes on the internet, lets you check Facebook, etc., then it is truly amazing!). The only thing that keeps you from appreciating how amazing your old phone is is finding out about the new stuff phones can now do. So, if you haven't already, just stop reading here. And Congrats!
Okay, for everyone else, 3D touch is this new system on the new iPhone where you can perform different tasks on your phone by pressing harder on buttons. These tasks include things like scrolling through apps without having to press the home button twice, or using apps like Facebook without having to open Facebook. Here's a pic of what you can do on Facebook without all the burden of having to open Facebook:
So, as you can see there, you can update your status, take a photo for your wall, check in, and search, all without ever having to open Facebook!
But, wait, you ask, why can't I just open Facebook?
Suppose you've been kidnapped, and you have your phone out, and you need to let people know, but if you open up Facebook, the screen will brighten up with the Facebook display, and then the kidnappers will notice your phone. So, you need to do a quick check-in, maybe update your status, and take a selfie of how afraid you are, all without opening up the Facebook app.
Other than that, I have no idea.
The real problem here (or one of them, at least) is that we have incorporated the values of capitalism so much that an increased productivity that can be measured in nanoseconds can bring us joy. I mean, it doesn't take that long to open Facebook. And, the things you are doing are things you don't generally have trouble doing once Facebook is open.
3D touch offers a shortcut to improve your speed on doing a task that is (a) generally fun (or meant to be, anyway), (b) is saving almost no real time whatsoever, and (c) will cause you to potentially miss other fun things.
Let me say a bit about (c). By posting on Facebook without opening the app (and this would apply in similar ways to other apps, especially social media ones), what you are in fact doing is trying to cut down on having to see what your friends are posting while posting yourself. But how vain would you have to be to use Facebook in an entirely one-sided direction? You really want to have a shortcut that allows you to post on Facebook without all the bother of seeing what anyone else is posting? I mean, who does that?*
*After writing the above paragraph, I started to realize that it might apply to literally millions of Facebook users. I may have just insulted the vast majority of the most extremely narcissistic Facebook users -- that is, the vast majority of Facebook users. My apologies. Please ignore that last paragraph.... Oh, wait, you already have because you didn't know it was about you in advance and so never read it in the first place? Oh, good. Well, then, let's continue.
But this post isn't about whether 3D touch does a good job at cutting down nanoseconds. It is about the fact that we care, and the reason why we do. Marxists like to point out that life within a capitalist society has numerous affects on who you are as a person, including the very way you value. This point is both clearly true and important in numerous ways. One of them is that capitalists tend to use the seeming satisfaction of values created and maintained by capitalism as evidence of capitalism working: capitalism makes you value more productive iPhones, capitalism gets you a new iPhone every year (and now a contract that locks you into buying that new iPhone every year through Apple), and then when you get your iPhone and are happy, capitalism is shown to have worked.
But, in this case, the creation of value runs a bit deeper: it isn't just that we have learned to value things (often or even pretty much always at the expense of our valuing of persons -- though we would hate to admit this to ourselves), but that we have learned to value reasons for valuing things. That is, the reason we value this new iPhone's 3D touch capability is because we value extremely fast productivity -- even where that productivity gains us no noticeable time (you simply didn't open Facebook -- you are still on Facebook, updating your status, and then, later, checking Facebook to see if people like *your* status, which may require you to notice someone else's status, which would then require a "like" to maintain the fiction that you are "friends"). And, further, even when that increased productivity is maintained for an activity we were supposed to be enjoying in the first place (I mean, why are you on Facebook if you feel the need to do Facebook so fast that someone saving you less than a second is meaningfully good and makes you want to buy a new phone?).
Our appreciation for 3D touch, in the end, is an appreciation for ridiculously fast productivity that we don't need and shouldn't really want.
But, it is also really cool! And I can't help but to really, really, really want it!