iPhone 6s screen can weigh things, but Apple won’t let people do it

The company uses its 3D Touch function mostly for triggering extra events, though it seems to be possible to use it for more specific functions

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The Independent Tech

The screen in the iPhone 6s can be used to weigh things — but Apple isn’t letting apps use the functionality.

Apple introduced a pressure sensitive screen in its newest handset, allowing users to press hard on the screen and trigger extra actions. But the phone can actually sense a range of different presses — which has led some developers to look into creating apps that turn the phone’s screen into a weighing scale.

Some developers have already half-successfully created apps that use the phone’s functions for weighing. But Apple doesn’t appear to be allowing them through.

One such developer, Ryan McLeod, created such an app. But Apple rejected it, and Mr McLeod presumed that it got mistaken for one of the many apps that claim to be a scale but are in fact just a novelty, unable to weigh anything at all.

But Apple then told Mr McLeod that scale apps won’t be able to get into the App Store, he claimed. He laid out a number of possible reasons that Apple wouldn’t want such apps — including potential damage to the phone, it being considered a misuse of the technology or the potential for it being used to weigh drugs — but it isn’t clear exactly why Apple isn’t allowing the apps through yet.

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In a Medium post, Mr McLeod described the difficulties of getting the phone to recognise the thing that was being weighed. The phone can only register things that are being touched by “capacitive” inputs, like fingers, and Mr McLeod had to use a spoon to allow the phone to register.

When Huawei launched its Mate S in September — which also includes a pressure-sensitive display, beating Apple to the announcement — it used the announcement to show how its phone could be used to weigh an orange. But that phone hasn't actually been release to the public yet.