Remember 3D Touch? Unless you are a power iOS user, you probably do not. Or, you will not either. It has been clear for some time now that Apple's technology welcomed its 2015 diversion as the "next generation of multi-touch" certainly not. For the regular iPhone user, it's just the annoying thing that's in the way of what you're actually trying to do.
What Apple really made with 3D Touch is the shortcut to multi-touch. Know a secret weapon for the nerds.
The prostitutes can be endlessly happy to learn the secrets of the hidden depths and shave all the important microseconds of their highly sophisticated workflows. But everyone else ignores it.
Or at least tries to ignore it ̵
Technology Veterans can remember that BlackBerry (remember them?!) tried something like the one-decade ago rejected on one of their phones – unboxing an unlovely (and unloved) clickable touchscreen, in the final BlackBerry Storm version.
The storm did not have the iconic physical BlackBerry keyboard, but had a touch screen with on-screen qwerty keys you could still click. In short, madness!
Surely, no usage storms did either result – unless you talk about the storm of BlackBerry buyers coming back to the store that requires a new handset.
In Apple's case, the error is barely at that level. But three years after the revealing 3D Touch, it's now on its own malfunction – since the latest iPhone line completely drops the press-sensing technology from the cheapest of the trio: iPhone XR.
The lack of 3D Touch on XR will help shave some production costs and maybe a little thickness from the device. For the most part, although it shows that Apple recognized it, it used a lot of effort to do something most iPhone users do not use and will not use – given as TC's Brian Heater has called it, the iPhone XR is iPhone for the rest of us.
However, it is not a budget handset. XR Packages Apple's next-generation biometric technology, Face ID, for example, also includes a suite of sophisticated sensor hardware placed in its own top.
It shows that Apple is not cheaper out there. Rather, it makes selective decisions based on what what iPhone users want and need. So the clear calculation in Cupertino is a lot of iPhone users, and not just 3D Touch.
At the same time, company experts have raised praise for Face ID at their event this week, saying that technology has proven to be very popular with users. Nevertheless, they gloss over the simultaneous depreciation of the 3D Touch at the end of the iPhone line without an explanation.
Compare the two technologies and it's easy to see why.
Face ID's popularity is not surprising. It is hard to think of a simpler interaction than a look that is unlocked.
Not so fettly 3D Touch – which requires a print that is more than one touch and kind with a tap or a small shot. Slide too soft and you get a touch that takes you somewhere you did not try to walk. But go too hard from the start, and the touch screen starts to feel like work and / or wasted effort.
On top of that, it may search for the tool itself feel meaningless – such as content preview that can be terribly slow to load, so why not just try and look at the email in the first place?
With all the fingering and faffing around 3D Touch is like the Goldilocks of User Interface: Frustration is all but guaranteed unless you have a terrible amount of patience to keep going and go until you get it right. And who, but the power users, can be bothered with it?
For the general public's iPhone XR, Apple has replaced the 3D Touch for a haptic feedback (forgettably called Haptic Touch) – it's probably most intended to be a solid plaster to smooth out any fragmentation spell across the iPhone property, that is, in the rare cases where developers have used 3D Touch to create shortcuts in the app that people actually want to use.
If, as we have suggested, the iPhone XR turns out to be iPhone sent in serious amounts, there will soon be millions of iOS users without access to the 3D Touch at all. So Apple rejects the technology it once called the future of multi-touch to what it really was: An add-on for pro users.
Pro users are also most likely to be willing to spend the biggest dollars on an iPhone – and would like to stand out to own the iPhone XS or XS Max (which keeps the 3D Touch, at least for the moment ).
So while 3D Touch can continue to help replace a few extra premium iPhones on
Multitouch – combined with generous display real estate – has been more than good enough on that front.