3D Touch disappears, and that’s great for people who love it [Opinion]

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ipad 3d touch
Without the sacrifice of 3D Touch, this wouldn't be possible on iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I love 3D Touch. I use it all the time. It’s one of the handiest shortcuts on the iPhone. And now, with the iPhone 11, it’s gone. But I don’t care. Why? Because Haptic Touch is almost as good. Even better, thanks to Apple’s switch to Haptic Touch, you can use all those 3D Touch features on the iPad.

3D Touch is dead. Long live Haptic Touch.

If you have an iPad running iOS 13, and an iPhone with 3D Touch, try this experiment. On the iPhone, press hard on a home-screen icon. The Maps app, for example. Anything will do. Notice how long it takes for the popup menu to appear.

Now, do the same on the iPad. It’s no slower, right? And yet the iPad possesses no pressure-sensitivity tech in its screen. Instead, this is all done by detecting a long-press, then popping up the same 3D Touch menu options. This works throughout iPadOS 13, allowing you to access contextual menus in most apps.

It’s pretty great.

It’s not all good news

Meanwhile, the iPhone lost a hardware feature — the pressure-sensitive screen — but the actual functionality did not change. Haptic Touch feels just as fast as 3D Touch.

You do lose out on some features, though. Peek and Pop are unavailable, as they rely on sensing harder presses. And some apps use the iPhone’s pressure-sensitive screen for clever tricks. Music apps, for example, can change the sound depending on how hard you press.

So, in the end, I am sad about 3D Touch disappearing. A little bit. But if Apple did not kill off 3D Touch, it never would have developed Haptic Touch as a replacement. And that would mean we wouldn’t have it on our iPads.

On balance, the end of 3D Touch proves good for most people. Except those freaks who can manage to make Peek and Pop work how it’s supposed to.