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Last year's iOS mobile cloud apps are so last year

And just like that, all the mobile cloud apps you worked so hard to build and deploy for iOS 8 throughout the past year are now woefully, utterly obsolete.

Sure they are. If your mobile apps don’t support iOS 9’s snazzy new 3D Touch technology, you are, well, out of touch. The technology was announced today (Wed., 9/9/2015) along with new iPhones, a new iPad, and a $99 stylus (the Apple Pencil), one thing Steve Jobs vowed never to bring to market.

3D Touch allows the newly announced iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models to sense how much pressure a fingertip applies to the display. That’s the basis for “Peek and Pop,” iOS 9’s marquee new feature that lets a user preview content within an app and act on it without actually opening it. (Not unlike the Preview Pane we’ve been using for years in Microsoft Outlook.)

To cite an Apple example, “With a light press you can Peek at each email in your inbox. Then when you want to open one, press a little deeper to Pop into it.” The feature can also be used on a link to preview a Web page without actually navigating to the site. Or press on a street address to peek at a map. Let go and the map goes away; press harder (“more deeply,” to use Apple’s vocabulary) and the map can be opened and zoomed for greater detail.

Here’s hoping that users don’t overdo the finger pressure gesture, though I’m sure we’ll soon be reading reports of Peek and Pop suddenly being transformed into Snap, Crackle, and Pop. If last year was “Bend-gate,” this year may descend into “Pop-gate.”

With “Quick Actions,” pressing on an app icon brings up a context sensitive menu of actions. (Think right clicking with a mouse.) On the native camera app, these options are Take Selfie, Record Video, Record Slo-Mo, and Take Photo.

For your job as an app developer or architect, here’s why your life is likely to get real busy real fast. Again, to quote Apple, “3D Touch works throughout iOS 9 to make the things you do every day more natural and intuitive. There are so many ways that simply pressing deeper can make whatever you’re doing a better experience.” (Update: Apple announced on Sept. 11 that it is now accepting for review applications developed for iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, and watchOS 2.)

As part of Apple’s launch event, it trotted out several companies that have already incorporated 3D Touch into their apps. If your apps are public facing, they’ll need 3D Touch functionality to stay competitive. After all, your competitors aren’t sitting still. Apps designed for in-house corporate and employee use are not under the same pressure (sorry).

With the public release of iOS 9 just a week away (Sept. 16), what is your organization doing to stay ahead of the feature curve? Maybe simply waiting is the most-prudent strategy. Or perhaps the race is on to broaden app capabilities. Tell us about your plans for iOS 9. There’s a lively discussion just around the corner. We’d like you to peek and then pop into it.

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