Apple spent five years developing 3D Touch on its newer iPhone models. It's a complex technology made of specialized sensors integrated into the iPhone's display that determines how hard a user is pressing.
In one of Apple's many implementations, pressing lightly on an app opens it, while pressing hard brings up a list of quick shortcuts. For instance, a hard-press on the Photos app brings up a few options, including the Most Recent folder, Favorites, One Year Ago, and Search.
Apple Dropping 3D Touch
But according to Chinese publication Feng, as spotted by MacRumors, trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that Apple's rumored 6.1-inch iPhone, the LCD variant — Kuo predicts Apple will release three models this year — will not implement 3D Touch. This model will have a new type of display, he said, one that uses what's called Cover Glass Sensor technology instead of having touch sensors built into the display itself. The benefit of this new technology is that it will make the iPhone's display lighter and more resistant to impact.
But there's a downside. This updated display will supposedly raise the total cost of screen construction to between $23 and $26. As such, in an effort to cut costs, Kuo says Apple may abandon 3D Touch on the upcoming 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.
Kuo also claims that this may just be the beginning of Apple's 3D Touch phase-out. Starting in 2019, Apple could remove the feature from all iPhone models, according to Kuo. Though it's hard to imagine for anyone to be disappointed if this feature was to be removed, there are a bunch of 3D Touch loyalists out there, as Gizmodo notes, and they swear by its convenience.
The main problem with 3D Touch is that it's expendable. Most 3D features can easily be replaced with a simple touch-and-hold method, or long-pressing as it's more commonly called. If something as trivial as 3D Touch increases costs in production but offers very little in terms of functionality, then it's only logical for Apple to have it removed.
Apple first introduced 3D Touch with the iPhone 6S in 2015, and at the time most of the reviews raved about the feature. The Verge's Nilay Patel said:
"There are a lot of things that have to fall into place, but 3D Touch overall feels like one of those ideas that only Apple can push into the mainstream — if Samsung or Huawei had delivered a similar feature, it would almost certainly be a gimmick. But the foundation for 3D Touch is solid and well-considered, and it's easy to see how the latent potential can turn into reality."
It seems like the 3D Touch idea didn't quite fall into place.