Way back in 2015, Apple debuted a much-hyped touchscreen display technology with the iPhone 6S.
It was supposed to be a game-changing feature, but due to a combination of poor implementation, a lack of app support and limited user awareness, it is not as widely accepted as it deserves to be.
Now, after years of languishing in relative obscurity, it looks like Apple is ditching the technology for good. Read on and see why it may be time to bid farewell to this iPhone feature.
3D Touch is going bye-bye?
Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis wrote in an investor note that it is “widely understood” that Apple’s 3D Touch may disappear from iPhones as early as 2019. This means all of next year’s (2019) iPhones may not have the 3D Touch feature at all.
If these rumors are true, then will it be an admission from Apple that one of the flagship features of the iPhone, which reportedly took five years to develop, is an inessential gimmick? Or is it a way to cut costs?
“While the lack of 3D Touch on the 6.1-inch iPhone would make sense, given expectations that it will essentially be a budget iPhone X, it’s not entirely clear why it may be removed from the more expensive OLED models next year,” Curtis wonders. “As a somewhat hidden feature, perhaps Apple no longer finds it essential.”
Keep in mind that this year’s rumored OLED iPhones, which still use the current iPhone X’s display technology, will likely still have 3D Touch. However, famed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hinted earlier this year that the cheaper LCD iPhone, also rumored to be released this year, will not have 3D Touch.
What is 3D Touch?
If you have an iPhone 6S (or later model), you’re probably familiar with 3D Touch even if you don’t use it very much.
This feature lets you press your screen with different amounts of finger pressure to access more options. This is kind of like hovering over an icon with your mouse, but better. Once you start using 3D Touch, you get it.
For example, with 3D Touch, you don’t have to open the Messages app to reply to a message. Just do a long hard press on the lock screen text notification itself to reply. If you’re in a hurry, this feature will save you time, although 3D Touch does require some practice.
Many apps have 3D Touch options too. Facebook, for instance, lets you share, upload a photo/video and write a post, straight from 3D Touch. Netflix has 3D Touch shortcuts for “Continue Watching,” “Trending Now” and “My List.”
3D Touch is also extra useful in the Control Center. For example, you can 3D Touch the camera icon to take selfies, record videos or slo-mos, or the Flashlight icon to quickly set the brightness.
3D Touch still has its uses
3D Touch does provide another set of usable options that many iPhone users don’t even know exist. Poke around and try 3D Touching icons and buttons and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the extra options available. If you haven’t tried 3D Touch, it’s like opening a new iPhone dimension you haven’t seen before!
The main problem is that unless you know that 3D Touch is actually a thing you can do with iPhones, the options remain hidden and largely unnoticed. This is sadly a waste of the cool technology, if you ask me.
Others are also saying that a long-er press can achieve whatever 3D Touch can do, and that’s without the need for the sophisticated 3D Touch pressure sensors embedded on the display. But for all its critics, 3D Touch actually has many convenient uses (if you know how to get to them, that is) and let’s hope that it won’t completely disappear from future iPhones.
Maybe a push for wider awareness and a better implementation of 3D Touch is all that Apple needs to make it work. The 2018 iPhones are set to be announced soon and if the 6.1-inch LED model does indeed drop 3D Touch from its feature set, then it’s probably the beginning of its unfortunate demise.