Apple plans to drop its pressure-sensitive display technology from the upcoming iPhone line-up, according to a new report.
Dubbed 3D Touch, the technology registers the amount of pressure applied to the glass display and performs different functions based on the amount of force.
Apple includes a number of shortcuts and menus across the iOS operating system which can only be accessed using a forceful press on a 3D Touch display.
3D Touch was a key selling point of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus – the first handsets to launch with the feature, which has been included on every iPhone model since.
However, so few developers have incorporated the feature into their apps that Apple is set to drop 3D Touch from upcoming handsets, according to industry experts.
Following the feature’s launch in 2015, one Apple executive said 3D Touch would be a ‘huge waste’ of talent and resources if it wasn’t picked up by app developers.
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So few software developers incorporated 3D Touch into their apps that Apple has been forced to drop it from upcoming handsets, according to industry experts. The feature allowed you to press the screen with different levels of pressure to perform different functions
Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis said it is ‘widely understood’ that Apple’s upcoming iPhone models will not include 3D Touch technology, according to investors notes seen by MacRumors.
Curtis and his associates met with companies within Apple’s supply chain based in Asia last week, and have made predictions based on the information gathered.
In a note to investors, Curtis claims 3D Touch will no longer be available in any of the iPhone line-up by 2019.
This tallies with a previous report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo published in April, which claimed Apple will drop its 3D Touch system later this year.
Touch 3D reads the amount of force you use while pressing the screen to activate different functions.
For instance, pushing into the screen while your finger is resting on email in your inbox will pop-up a preview of the inside of the message.
In drawing apps, you can vary the thickness of the pencil line you’re drawing by applying more pressure into the display.
3D Touch formed a heavy part of Apple’s marketing campaigns for the iPhone 6S.
It has been featured in every subsequent iPhone model, including the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.
WHAT IS APPLE 3D TOUCH?
Apple introduced its 3D Touch feature in 2015 with the iPhone iPhone 6S and iPhone 6s Plus.
The tool reads the amount of force you use while touching the screen to activate different functions.
For instance, swiping or pushing on the screen with more pressure allows users to preview email or other content.
Holding down on an app in the home screen shows a preview of various functions that you can access without having to open the app.
It opened up the firm’s touchscreen technology to a range of touch beyond simple taps.
The feature, released in 2015, was used heavily as part of Apple’s marketing campaigns for its flagship models that year.
Speaking during the launch of the iPhone 6S, Apple said the feature’s development had come at ‘tremendous cost’ to the company.
Marketing chief Phil Schiller told Bloomberg: ‘Engineering-wise, the hardware to build a display that does what [3D Touch] does is unbelievably hard.
‘And we’re going to waste a whole year of engineering – really, two – at a tremendous amount of cost and investment in manufacturing if it doesn’t do something that [people] are going to use.
‘If it’s just a demo feature and a month later nobody is really using it, this is a huge waste of engineering talent.’
With Apple due to launch its latest iPhone next month, rumours over what the handset could feature have gripped the internet.
With Apple due to launch its latest iPhone next month, rumours over what the next instalment of the handset could hold have gripped the internet. Pictured is an iPhone X, released September 2017
Chief among the new details is that Apple is branding this year’s lineup an ‘S year’ – meaning the new devices will mostly include internal improvements, instead of any major aesthetic overhauls, according to Bloomberg.
This tallies with previous reports that suggest Apple will launch three new models that resemble the existing iPhone X all-screen design on September 12th.
The three models are tipped to boast 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch displays.
All three models could have a battery charge that lasts for more than a day thanks to a new Apple-designed processor that is set to increase battery life by as much as 40 per cent.
A 6.5-inch iPhone, referred to internally as D33, will feature Apple’s largest screen yet, as well as new features like the ability to view content in a side-by-side view.
While it will be the biggest phone in the lineup, Apple is said to be mulling whether or not it should drop the ‘Plus’ label for the 6.5-inch device, Bloomberg noted.
The 6.5-inch and 5.8-inch models will both feature improved processing speed and upgraded cameras. It’s unclear what specific changes will be made.
Apple has been widely rumored to be prepping three new iPhones for later this year. A leaked image reportedly shows the glass panels that will be used in the iPhone models
Apple will try to appeal to price-sensitive consumers with a 6.1-inch model that’s most akin to the iPhone 8, aside from the addition of a bezel-less screen.
The devices are also set to have a new processor, expected to be called the Apple A12, that will significantly improve the battery life in all three models.
The next-generation chipset will have an increased number of transistors, which are tiny switches that allow electricity to pass through the processor.
Last year’s iPhone chip had a gap of 10 nanometres between each transistor, however, this year Apple is tipped to shrink that to seven nanometres.
Smaller gaps between transistors mean the chip can work more efficiently and requires less power to work, resulting in more battery life.
Since all three models will feature an edge-to-edge display, they’ll also have the gesture-based control system used in the iPhone X, which replaces the need for a home button
TSMC, the manufacturer behind Apple-branded processors, estimates its 7nm chips require around 40 per cent less power than their predecessors.
If Apple adopts the new chipset design for its new models, as analysts predict, iPhone users can expect a significant bump in battery.
Apple is also expected to include a number of battery life optimisations that will help to reduce battery drain when the phone is asleep, writes MacWorld.
However, the latest estimates are subject to a number of other details about the phone. Real-world battery life is also affected by other factors, including the number of apps, type of display, and the efficiency of cellular and Wi-Fi radios in the phone.
Elsewhere, the three new iPhone models are tipped to launch in several colours, include an aluminium (rather than stainless steel) chassis, and sport an LCD display.
WHAT ARE THE 2018 iPHONE RUMOURS SO FAR?
Apple only launched the iPhone X a few months ago, but the latest rumours of its 2018 smartphone have already hit the web.
In August, rumours from the supply chain said the iPhone 9 will be available in two sizes, including one with a massive screen that would be Apple’s biggest yet.
The ‘Plus’ size will reportedly have a 6.46-inch screen and will be sold alongside a smaller 5.85-inch model in a bid to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Note.
The leak came from a source within Samsung Display, the sole OLED supplier for the upcoming iPhones.
The source also said the smaller version was originally going to be a 5.28-inch model but that the firm upped it to 5.85 inches because of growing consumer demand for bigger-screen phones.
In August rumours from the supply chain said the iPhone 9 will be available in two sizes, including one with a massive screen that would be Apple’s biggest yet (stock image, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus)
A recent Apple leak suggested the firm could cancel the iPhone X.
An analyst says the new model’s disappointing sales could lead to the phone being cancelled – with production stopping as soon as this summer.
This could be the first time Apple has cancelled a phone model since the iPhone 5C in 2014.
Experts believe the lack of interest in the phone is largely due to the notch, which many potential Chinese customers believe removes too much space on the screen.
Now, Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities says Apple will release three new iPhone models including a slightly cheaper 6.1-inch phone without 3D touch.
It could also release an updated iPhone X with a 5.8-inch OLED screen and a larger 6.5-inch OLED model, potentially called the iPhone X Plus.
The 6.1-inch phone will feature an aluminium frame similar to the iPhone 8 and the display will be an LCD panel instead of OLED, he predicted.
The 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus will have similar specifications as the current design but an OLED display and 4GB of RAM, he predicts.
All three models could also have charge that lasts for more than a day thanks to a new processor that is set to increase battery life by as much as 40 per cent.
Since all three models will feature an edge-to-edge display, they’ll also have the gesture-based control system used in the iPhone X, which replaces the need for a home button.
Apple’s facial recognition system ‘Face ID’ will also be included in all three devices.
Keeping with earlier rumours, Apple is expected to introduce dual SIM technology for the two larger phones in some regions, Bloomberg noted.
Including dual SIM support would allow users to switch between mobile carrier plans more easily. This feature is likely to appeal to international users who frequently travel to different countries.
Another detail that remains unclear is how Apple will brand its new smartphones.
It’s unlikely to brand the new premium phones as the iPhone XS, as this is likely to be read by consumers as ‘excess’ or ‘extra small’.
However, moving to the iPhone XI (iPhone 11) would signal a bigger aesthetic upgrade than the company might necessarily want, given that it is an ‘S year’.
The iPhone isn’t the only Apple device expected to get a facelift at this year’s event.
Apple is also expected to release an Apple Watch with a bigger screen, as well as revamped iPad Pro models that feature slimmer bezels, Bloomberg noted.