The iPhone 11 Pro From The Perspective of a Heavy User of 3D Touch

It’s Nice

Like, really nice. The new back glass is beautiful and feels great in the hand. The centered and subtle glossy logo is somehow even more powerful now that it’s harder to see. And the way that light reflects internally on the glass when the flashlight is on is just gorgeous.

But It Doesn’t Have 3D Touch

When the XR lost 3D touch, the writing was on the wall. It was reasonable to expect that the next set of phones would lack it too, and it happened. How bad could it be?

I Miss 3D Touch So Much

Many things change without 3D Touch. There’s the trivial stuff like waiting a little longer for menus to pop open, which I can live with. Yes, it’s slower, but no big deal. There’s the loss of the fun that the lock screen flashlight button once gave me—clicking it on and off and on and off and on and off without lifting my finger—, but whatever, definitely not critical. Control Center works mostly the same as well, all good in that front.

It’s a Downgrade

There’s no way around it: the lack of 3D Touch makes the keyboard on the iPhone just worse. Much worse, actually. And all the other places where the lack of 3D Touch can be felt don’t just make for a less enjoyable experience, they actually make the device itself feel less capable—as if it was handicapped somehow. And it can’t be fixed by clever software. 3D Touch actually introduced an input vector that enabled a few unique interactions that cannot all be co-opted by a glorified long press.

It’s On Them

First, I’ll call BS on that last point. I’ve tinkered quite a bit with my iPhone X, and I can tell you with confidence that that phone has enough room to house a bigger battery. They probably held off on making it bigger until they needed a tentpole feature to sell a new revision of what’s mostly the same phone from 2 years ago. Second, the fact that 3D Touch was so poorly adopted is completely, one hundred percent on Apple. They had all the chances in the world to make 3D Touch work, and they didn’t take them. They didn’t put their software, marketing, and user education weight behind it and instead they just let it wither and die, either consciously or by sheer negligence.

A Real Pro Move

You know the Apple of 2019: it’s all about them Pros. If there’s an October event, the word ‘Pro’ will be on the invite, probably embedded in a hilarious pun. The Mac Pro is back. The iPad Pro is now more Pro because it gets its own OS now (at least as far as Marcom is concerned). Oh, and the iPhone is now Pro too! So now that the iPhone is Pro, it’s definitely the natural time to remove the one and only hardware feature that was built for and constantly leveraged by advanced users.

So What Now?

I’m honestly baffled by this. Am I really considering returning the shiny new iPhone that I just got on launch day? Every time I think about it, it seems less and less unreal. My gut is telling me to get the best iPhone with 3D Touch that I can find and hang on to it for dear life. I can probably get 2 good refurbs for the money I’ll get back from my 11 Pro.

Update

Did I return my 11 Pro? No, it’s gorgeous and the cameras are amazing. Do I still miss 3D Touch? Yes, at least once a week.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store