I’ll admit it. I was one of the few people who thought 3D Touch would turn into something really good when it was first unveiled. Whether you have ever used it or not, it was an interesting concept, in that it gave Apple a way to freshen up its static Springboard without actually changing the looks or overall design.
But that very thing is also one of the reasons why 3D Touch never reached its full potential. It was hidden behind the same old interface that all iOS users are accustomed to. If you don’t train yourself to use it, it’s so easy to forget it’s even there.
I have a couple of 3D Touch shortcuts I use on a regular basis, such as quickly pulling up directions to Home or Work in Google Maps (mostly for the traffic update). I also use it a lot for cursor placement when editing text. However, I rarely think to try it for anything else beyond these routine tasks. If someone like me who thinks 3D Touch has some usefulness hardly takes advantage of it, that means most iPhone users have never even tried it.
The biggest downfall for 3D Touch is that it isn’t universal across Apple devices. There is a variant of it on the Watch called the Force Touch, but it doesn’t work quite the same. It was never applied to the iPad, probably because it was too expensive to include on such large screens. The fact that 3D Touch never became a universal standard insured that developers would never completely embrace it. There was no real incentive for them to go beyond the most basic implementation.
One thing I do like about 3D Touch is how well it worked from a hardware perspective. Apple blows away the competition when it comes to haptic feedback. Theirs is extremely smooth and accurate, which made 3D Touch easy enough to use on the off chance that someone actually remembers that it’s there. I will miss that part of it.
The good thing is that, even though 3D Touch is likely going away, Apple will still keep a lot of the basic functionality in iOS by using long presses to trigger a simple haptic tap. They have already implemented this on the iPad and it works well enough. At least going forward, most of Apple’s mobile devices will be more unified in how they handle presses and taps, which should cut down on confusion. That is always a good thing.