There’s no shortage of apps that transform your smartphone into a musical instrument, but it’s easy to feel disconnected from the experience when you're playing through a glass screen. With Apple’s new 3D Touch feature, however, music composed with a iPhone can sound—and feel—more sophisticated than ever before.
The new iPhone app Noise comes from the music company Roli, whose previous credits include a line of squishy keyboards with pressure-sensitive keys. The keys on Noise’s digital keyboard have the same soft definition, which highlights their touch sensitivity. Noise includes 25 preset instruments like “Breath Flute” and “Dirt Organ.” Every aspect of the sound quality from reverb to fuzziness can be customized, and looping synths can be sped up or slowed down as they play in the background.
The most impressive feature of the new app is its “five dimensions of touch” that allow it to respond to much more than just a tap on a screen. The categories are strike (how hard you hit a key), pressure (how hard you press it), glide (moving your finger side-to-side), slide (moving it up and down), and lift (how fast you remove your finger). Strike, pressure, and lift were especially made to take advantage of the 3D Touch feature of the iPhone 6S—but even if you have an older iPhone you can still use the other two dimensions of the app with iOS 9 or later.
For serious musicians, Noise can wirelessly connect to a variety of digital instruments and sound systems. And while there is an option to buy additional instrument sounds, the app itself is free.