by Jim Lynch

The iPhone SE doesn’t need 3D Touch to succeed

Mar 10, 2016

Some folks are rattled that the iPhone SE probably won't have 3D Touch. But 3D Touch is still a very new technology that many people just don't care about enough to skip buying the iPhone SE.

Rumors about Apple’s new 4-inch phone, the iPhone SE, are everywhere on the Web these days. Some sites have even shown leaked photos of components, cases being made ready and every other tidbit you can think of about the new phone. And everything so far seems to indicate that the iPhone SE will not have 3D Touch included as part of its feature set.

This has led some folks to dismiss the iPhone SE as not being worth buying. But I think that’s a mistake, everything I’ve seen about the iPhone SE seems to indicate that it will be a big upgrade for folks who want a 4-inch iPhone and who are still using the iPhone 5s, 5 or even 4s.

All of the hoopla about the iPhone SE and 3D Touch got me thinking about my own experiences using 3D Touch, and also made me consider the question of whether or not 3D Touch really matters right now to folks in the market for a new iOS device.

3D Touch and the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus

When the iPhone 6s Plus first came out, I bought one immediately. 3D Touch was one of the features I was most interested in trying out. At the time I also had an iPhone 6 Plus, which didn’t have 3D Touch. So I wasn’t sure which phone I would ultimately keep.

After using the iPhone 6s Plus for a while, I realized that 3D Touch wasn’t all that important to me. I used it here and there, but ultimately found myself mostly not using it. That’s not a reflection on 3D Touch per se, it’s just that my usage habits were firmly established and 3D Touch didn’t change them all that much.

So I finally decided to keep my iPhone 6 Plus, and I sent the 6s Plus back to Apple. The 6s Plus is a fantastic phone, but it wasn’t enough of an upgrade for me to justify spending the money on it. 3D Touch was definitely a cool feature on the iPhone 6s Plus, but not enough for me to keep the phone.

Lack of 3D Touch on the iPad Pro hasn’t mattered to me

The iPad Pro is another device that had me wondering about 3D Touch. When the iPad Pro was first announced I was somewhat surprised that it wouldn’t have 3D Touch. I initially decided to skip buying the iPad Pro because I didn’t think I really needed one, though I changed my mind later and was very glad I did.

So after having the iPad Pro for a while, I’ve come to realize that not having 3D Touch on it has not made a bit of difference in my enjoyment of the device. To put it bluntly, I haven’t noticed the lack of 3D Touch on the iPad Pro at all.

The iPad Pro has turned out to be the best iPad I’ve ever owned, and the lack of 3D Touch has not negatively affected that feeling in any way. I love my iPad Pro and I’m very glad I bought it, it’s the best comics reader I’ve ever used. Waiting for 3D Touch to be added in a future version would have been a terrible mistake on my part.

3D Touch is a fine feature but it’s not necessary for the iPhone SE to succeed

I think part of the reason why the lack of 3D Touch won’t matter on the iPhone SE and why it hasn’t mattered to me on the iPhone or iPad Pro, is that the feature is still in its infancy in terms of development. While many of Apple’s apps have incorporated 3D Touch, many third party developers still haven’t made much or any use of it.

This will no doubt change in the future as all iPhones and iPads eventually have 3D Touch, and more and more developers add its functionality to their apps. But right now 3D Touch is more of a cool luxury than a must-have feature for many people. So I don’t think the lack of it will negatively affect sales of the iPhone SE in any significant way.

For the folks who are going to buy the iPhone SE, the size of the device and the upgraded hardware inside of it will matter most. Oh sure, some would probably have liked 3D Touch to have been included, but I doubt it will be a deal breaker for most potential buyers of the iPhone SE.

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