Apple Doesn't Want You Weighing Stuff...

Weight Apps For iPhone

With the release of iPhone 6s comes an exciting new chapter in mobile interactivity - 3D Touch. In broad strokes, this means an entire new range of touch-based gestures when interacting with your phone. More specifically, 3D Touch gestures on the iPhone 6s can gauge the weight, or pressure rather, applied by a user's finger.

It didn't take long for a select group of people in the iPhone development community to grab a hold of this new paradigm in touch screen development and apply it as a digital scale utility for measuring the weight of an item placed on top of the 6s screen.

Mobile developer, Ryan McLeod and a few friends, brought their Gravity app to the App Store early 2015 but it didn't take long for Apple to pull the app for a "misleading description". And there have been others playing with the idea such as Plum-O-Meter that lets you compare the weight of two plums on one screen.

Most recently, Asaf Avidan Antonir brought Steady Square to the App Store and was met with a similar fate - removal. But in a clever reposition of the app, Steady Square created a game that provided a digital output of the pressure applied by your finger. When the dots were finally connected app users and tech blogs quickly recognized what was really at play.


How It Works (in layman's terms)

iPhones use capacitive touch screens to register a user's screen interaction. When touching an iPhone screen you are essentially connecting a circuit between you and the device. This is the same reason you can't use your winter gloves with your iPhone.

From this point, mobile developers need to convert Apple's pressure index (1 being a regular touch) to grams. With a handful of apps sorting out this math, your touch can be displayed in weighted units.

In the effort of measuring 'oregano', or other botanical matter, on a 3D Touch screen you also need a conductive and concentrated point on the screen. And the perfect utensil solution, you ask? A spoon. Weigh your spoon. Weigh it with your botanical matter. Do some cowboy math and you've got a functioning digital scale. Thank you, Steve Jobs, again.


Apple Blocking Weight Apps for iPhone

But, hold on. What are you weighing there?

The party didn't last very long and, much like the fate of Ryan McLeod's Gravity, it seems Steady Square's 'reposition' of their app has suffered a similar fate. And why is that?

There are a number of reasons floated out there, most of which are either reaching or a double-standard to other aspects of Apple's tech and policies. For weak starters: the damage phones may sustain by people weighing gym equipment in a typical kitchen spoon - and hence, crushing iPhones and making Apple user sad. And let's not forget all of those professional drug dealers weighing the bricks coming out of safely landed Cessnas on some private Miami airfield. Because those guys are using smart phone scales to keep their business relationships honest (sarcasm)...

There's also another weak suggestion that Apple doubts the potential of their own technology and its accuracy. So, all the tech Gravity and Steady Square gave the world is nothing more than simply tea leaves - straight up. And does Apple want to be the one on the hook for you getting skimmed by your local neighbourhood drug dealer? Hell no. Apple has their own street rep to keep.

In most likely scenarios, Apple is concerned about their guarded brand and relationship with the consumer. Becoming a novel or innovative widget of the western drug commerce culture (hard and soft) is not on Apple's 2016 brand / PR roadmap, apparently. But hey, there's always Android. Serge and Larry don't give a whoa.

Mark Hamhuis
Mark Hamhuis