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

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 switch to the Cover Glass Sensor (CGS) screen technology.

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

A GSS screen has touch sensing circuitry on the surface glass as opposed to it being integrated in the display panel itself. While the solution would make the phone more durable and lighter, it would require a mystery thin-film sensor applied to CGS’s touch film sensor.

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 that would be due to 3D Touch being underutilized or gimmicky. Apple probably just wants to keep production costs down.

For what it’s worth, Kuo previously speculated the LCD phone could cost as little as $550.

In January, for instance, he said the device would lack 3D Touch. A second-generation iPhone SE, apparently arriving in May, is also thought to ship without the 3D Touch feature.

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, especially at this point. The feature is very well interwoven with iOS and each iteration has made it 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 replacement system.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently claimed Apple was working on touchless gesture controls for future iPhones, but that curious technology is thought to be at least two years away.


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