Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Possible Removal of 3D Touch With 2018 iPhones

Joe Rossignol:

Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said 3D Touch won’t be a feature on the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD, part of the upcoming 2018 lineup. So, by the sound of it, 3D Touch won’t be a feature on any 2019 iPhones, assuming Apple sticks with the same three models expected in 2018.

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. As a somewhat hidden feature, perhaps Apple no longer finds it essential.


The most immediate example is the home screen. Long press activates move/delete mode, 3D Touch brings up common app features and/or a widget. It might not be my primary interaction, but I do like having it there. I don’t think I’m the only one

Ryan Jones:

0.1% of people use Quick Actions

~25% (??) of people have difficulties deleting and moving app

Design is trade offs. Not yes/no. You win by removing, and in this case you win more.

Jesse Larson:

The amount of time I’ve spent explaining how to delete apps after 3D Touch is crazy. Can’t believe they didn’t remedy this obvious regression sooner.

Personally, I only use 3D Touch for better cursor insertion when editing text. I’d miss it if gone, but could live without it.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

“I always invoke 3D Touch by accident”

“3D Touch is not discoverable”

If you changed how icons are moved or deleted on SpringBoard, nobody would be complaining about 3D Touch at all. 3D Touch isn’t the problem here


The cursor feature is a big big win 3D touch wise for me. Or 3D touching google maps to get directions home is nice. But yea, not much else

Ryan Jones:

3D Touch never took off. That’s not saying long or force pressing is dead. Do we need dedicated hardware for long or force taps? No. Do we need Force Touch to be distinct from Long Tap? No. Unadopted unnecessary complication for tiny upside → kill it.

Marco Arment:

Removing 3D Touch sounds incorrect. Maybe it’s just a component/implementation change.

But it’s kinda fun to watch people who’ve defended the removals of everything they didn’t use from the MacBook Pro suddenly getting mad that Apple might take away one of THEIR niche features.

Colin Cornaby:

3D Touch is difficult/expensive to implement, especially on larger screens (hello iPad.) It doesn’t sound completely incorrect to me, because the price for implementation doesn’t seem worth the payoff. But Apple would have to walk back their reliance on it for first party apps.

Michael Love:

I think they finally found a winning / obvious use for it in the iPhone X’s flashlight / camera buttons; hopefully they keep it around and lean into it more heavily in iOS 13 for complications and such.

Justin Lin:

That I find very frustrating. I just want a quick flash light or camera with a tap but it takes so much effort to make it “click”. And my mom thought they were broken as they did nothing with a tap.

Damien Petrilli:

Too bad. 3D touch could have been used to add a contextual menu to undo amongst other things

Josh Centers:

3D Touch isn’t that useful, but I love the Taptic feedback.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

I don’t believe rumors of ‘no 3D Touch’ coming from component suppliers. Seems far more likely that they’ve figured out new way to do 3D Touch that doesn’t require heavy back plate, thus making viable on iPad. The answer to user problems is ‘disable by default’, like right-click

3D Touch didn’t appear out of nowhere, it was worked on for many years before it was introduced and forms a key part of contextual & haptic design on iOS. It sounds ridiculous to remove it just because some people have difficulty moving icons around

On the other hand, there may be indicators that 3D Touch hasn’t worked out as expected: it’s still not on iPad, for instance, nor the iPhone SE (which is still in the lineup). I don’t know if anybody would miss it if it were dropped on macOS, either

If you were to nix 3D Touch, you’d have to relocate (or remove, a la iPad) SpringBoard shortcuts & widgets, and view controller previewing & context menus. You’d only be left with a longpress you’d have to overload with features, which doesn’t make moving icons any easier

Joe Fabisevich:

3D Touch is great, but incredibly confusing, hidden, and often times overloaded. It should have replaced long press, not been added on top of other gestures.

Andy Durdin:

In my experience and estimation, I invoke 3D touch when I didn’t want to about 1-2% of the time when I only wanted a long press; and 3D touch fails to register when I wanted it to about 5-10% of attempts. Both of these percentages are frustratingly high.

James O’Leary:

while I’m here, the other issue is 3D Touch is impossible to use consistently as a designer. You have to plan 3 separate UIs (iPhone without 3D touch, iPad, iPhone with 3D touch). By its very nature, 3D Touch affordances have to be dispensable

Matt Bonney:

Here’s a very simple reason why removing 3D Touch would be bad. Long-press is a bad, slow substitute.

3D Touch lets you get in to these expanded states with a single (slightly firmer) tap.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

On Android (at least the Pixel launcher) they solved the home screen icon conundrum like this:

1. Long-press to get the app's action menu.
2. Press and drag to move/delete an icon.

This works because "Remove" and "Uninstall" drag targets appear at the top of the screen as soon as you start moving the icon.

iOS doesn't have this, but it could easily add a "Delete" item to the icon's action menu.

So then you have (on iOS):

1. Long-press to get the app's action menu (including "Delete")
2. Press and drag to move icon.

Doesn't sound too hard and look Ma! no 3D-Touchy!

If 3D touch adds even a moderate amount to the price and given it's not really found a big compelling use over long-touch then it'd understandable Apple would remove it. I also agree it confuses people. And yes, Apple should have added a delete to the action menu from the beginning. Still I love hard press to move the cursor and don't look forward to it being tied to the space bar (which I'm sure will lead to all sorts of problems).

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