Apple is expected to launch three new iPhone models this year, with an updated iPhone X, a larger screened iPhone X Plus, and a budget version of the iPhone X that will likely push the iPhone 8 out of the portfolio. Unfortunately the ‘budget’ version of the 2018 iPhone makes a number of concessions to keep Apple’s cost down that damage Tim Cook’s ideal vision of the iPhone interface.
In terms of naming conventions nobody’s quite sure what Tim Cook will decide on. Given this is going to be a more price conscious device that retains the new ’notch’ design and FaceID security system, I’m going with iPhone X SE – the SE to signify its move down the portfolio, the X to show the notch and FaceID is still present.
According to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, the iPhone X SE is expected to have a lower resolution screen, running at around 325 ppi in a 6.1 inch screen. The screen itself will not follow the iPhone X’s move to bright and vivid OLED, instead staying with the tried and tested TFT-LCD screen that has been found on every other iPhone to date.
But Kuo believes that the X SE will be missing a key feature. It will not support the pressure sensitive 3D Touch system.
3D Touch was introduced into the iPhone range with the iPhone 6S and allowed iOS to sense different levels of pressure on the screen. This allows for new UI elements, such as a pop-up menu on the home screen with a heavy press on an app icon, or allowing you to slide the cursor around a block of text with a heavy press and drag on the qwerty keyboard.
Unfortunately 3D touch has remained somewhat of a novelty. Although the 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and X handsets all shipped with the interface, it is impossible to back port the feature to the older and cheaper handsets. As the likes of the iPhone 5, 5C, and 6 are retired and consumers look to purchase new handsets, many of them are going to look at the X SE as their next handset – it has the large screen that Apple believes is the fashionable choice, it’s cheaper than the $1000 starting price of the iPhone X, and it is an ‘SE’ model and those are meant to be good for those on a budget, right?
A genuinely courageous Apple that believed in 3D Touch would ensure that no new iPhone is sold without 3D Touch. That would increase the ubiquity of the interface, it would give developers the confidence to write unique features that use 3D Touch without having to worry about a secondary way to trigger these options for non-compliant handsets, and it would create a clear point of difference in ‘iPhone’ compared to the Android-powered competition.
If Apple believes that 3D Touch is the best way forward for the user, then its legendary focus on putting the user first in every decision would mean ensuring 3D Touch is available across the entire range of iPhones. Otherwise it remains a cute gimmick to sell the more expensive handsets in the portfolio.
Originally posted by Forbes.