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iPhone 6s display teardown offers close-up look at 3D Touch sensor

A teardown published on Monday suggests that the 3D Touch sensor in the iPhone 6s is relatively easy to remove from the rest of the display, and that an accompanying change may actually make it simpler to fix iPhones.

The 3D Touch assembly is at the very rear of the display panel, but not difficult to separate from the backlight, digitizer glass, or the display itself, according to repair firm iFixit. At the same time, Apple has swapped out a home button cable in favor of traces along the side of the 3D Touch sensor — doing away with need to transfer that cable during some kinds of repairs.

iFixit nevertheless warned that the average person shouldn't try disassembling and reassembling a smartphone display, since the process requires very specialized tools.

Examining the 3D Touch panel in detail, the company observed that it mostly consists of a grid of rectangular capacitor plates, connected to a controller circuit via small traces. These plates are much less densely packed than the points on the phone's main touch sensor, but don't need that level of precision.

3D Touch is one of the primary selling points of the 6s, mostly enabling iPhone owners to take shortcuts through apps where enabled. It also incorporates "peek" preview functions, and can trigger app-specific commands in some cases. Many developers are still working on adding support, though apps like Facebook have basic functionality.