Gravity was an app that allowed an iPhone 6s to act as a digital scale. The app developer found that when “weighing” something using the 3D Touch sensors, the force values recorded by iOS linearly correlated to weight. Pondering how exactly to use the solution without a finger physically pressing on the iPhone screen, created a relatively ingenious idea, which you will have to click-through to read about. However, Gravity is an app that will probably never be available for sale because we can’t have nice things.
The purpose of the Gravity digital scale app is exactly what should excite people about 3D Touch and should be something that Apple would allow within reason. Therefore, though unsurprising, its rejection is frustrating for those who see the usefulness in such an app, especially when used properly. Based on the marketing materials released in the linked Medium article, this app was also beautifully designed, the type of app that I would be proud to use and for which I would openly advocate. To prove my point, the below blockquote shows the pragmatism of the developer as well as the focus on safety and good design (emphasis mine):
Maybe it’s because the screen could get damaged if people tried dropping heavy weights on their phone—thing is that the sensor won’t weigh beyond a maximum weight of ~385g (0.85 lbs) and you’d be hard pressed (har) to damage the screen with that little weight (Gravity also flashes a bright red warning). In addition to that it’s hard to balance heavy objects on a spoon, but then again people will be people and we completely understand why Apple didn’t advertise the 6s’s new water-resistant properties.
I have read a number of articles on the subject of 3D Touch and I wondered how developers would be able to use it for these types of practical applications. This one, though lost to us, would have been fascinating to play with and learn from. For further reading on the technology behind 3D Touch, read Kevin Nelson’s excellent Exploring Apple’s 3D Touch.
My mourning of the Gravity app originally produced via Six Colors.
Posted: October 28, 2015
In 2022, I am participating in two leadership training programs. This should be a social experience, so I am writing about it. Check out the full list of posts in the series here.