Apple May Finally Kill This Key Sensor in Next Year’s iPhone Lineup

The feature has a dedicated fanbase.

Apple may be about to drop one of the iPhone’s biggest hidden features. A Monday report claims that 3D Touch, which detects the amount of force a user is applying to the touchscreen, will be missing from all the smartphones in the company’s range expected to launch this fall.

The CultOfMac report claims the shift will occur due to attempts to cut manufacturing prices. It’s not the first time the rumor has emerged, as Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis stated in August 2018 that it’s “widely understood.” An April 2018 report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an impressive track record of accurate predictions, claimed that Apple would make the switch to offset the losses from a new “Cover Glass Sensor” that reduces weight and protects against shocks. As the new sensor raises the price by 15 percent to $26, Kuo stated that Apple would remove 3D Touch to boost its margins.

El Samsung Galaxy S7 copiará el 3D Touch del iPhone 6s
Some models of iPhone use 3D Touch to provide context-sensitive menus.

Related video: Apple Fans Slam 3D Touch Removal From Next Year’s iPhone as ‘Devastating’

Apple debuted 3D Touch on the iPhone 6S in 2015, boasting that the feature would enable users to interact with their phone in new ways. iOS included support for ideas like “peek and pop,” where a semi-hard press on a web link would show a preview and a harder press would open it. A hard press on an app icon can show shortcuts, like “take a selfie” on the “Camera” app. One little-known trick involved hard-pressing on the keyboard to move the cursor around.

Despite the company’s efforts to promote the feature, it was somewhat hampered by the fact that the iPad Pro that launched two months later didn’t support the feature, nor did the iPhone SE six months later, creating a schism in the iOS ecosystem. The iPhone XR used a haptic feedback system instead, replacing many of the shortcuts with a long press in lieu of the necessary force sensors. Nonetheless, the feature has many supporters, and Reddit users decried the rumors as “devastating” last August.

Apple is expected to launch its next iPhone lineup sometime in the fall. Rumors suggest the phones could offer a better front-facing camera, improvements to Face ID, and a triple-lens rear camera.

Although Apple is known for setting its own path in the marketplace, 3D Touch may be remembered as something of a mis-step for the firm. Four years after the feature first launched, the Huawei Mate S is one of the only Android phones to offer a similar feature, with manufacturers expressing little interest in their own implementations.