KGI reiterates that the upcoming 6.1-inch LCD iPhone won’t have 3D Touch

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Revered KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reiterated his view that one of Apple’s 2018 iPhone models will skip the 3D Touch feature which made a splash more than two years ago.

In a note to clients distributed earlier in the week, a copy of which was obtained by Chinese news outlet Feng (via MacRumors), the revered analyst is quoted as saying that 2018’s 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will utilize Cover Glass Sensor (CGS) technology.

TUTORIAL: How to invoke iOS app switch with 3D Touch

GSS screens put touch sensing circuitry onto the surface glass rather than integrate it to the display panel itself. The solution will necessitate the use of a thin-film sensor on CGS’s touch film sensor that should make the phone more durable and lighter.

It’ll also result in a 15% cost increase, bringing the touch panel purchase price from $23 to $26.

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To offset the increased cost, Kuo speculated, Apple would need to drop 3D Touch from this year’s LCD phone. Draw your own conclusions, but I don’t think this due to 3D Touch being what some people call a gimmicky feature. In all likelihood, Apple just wants to keep production costs down.

The analyst previously speculated that the phone could cost as little as $550.

KGI said back in January that the upcoming LCD device will lack 3D Touch. A second-generation iPhone SE, apparently arriving as soon as next month, is also thought to ship without 3D Touch.

Because Apple plans to incorporate the CGS display technology into future iPhones, including OLED models starting in 2019, MacRumors speculated that 3D Touch could potentially be removed from all future iPhones.

I think it is very unlikely that Apple would scrap 3D Touch at this point. The feature is very well interwoven with iOS and each iteration has made the system even better. For instance, 3D Touch on iPhone X performs better than on prior phones and has fewer dead zones.

3D Touch currently uses a rather heavy and thick layer comprised of 96 pressure sensors. For all we know, the mystery thin-film sensor mentioned in Kuo’s note could be a next-generation 3D Touch or a 3D Touch-like input system.

For the sake of completeness, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently claimed Apple was working on touchless gesture controls for future iPhones. That curious technology is however said to be at least two years away.

Thoughts?

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