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iPhone SE (apple.com)
567 points by davidbarker on Mar 21, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 715 comments

No 3D touch is a very odd fragmentation. You'd think they'd want to shore up their devices to be completely compatible with this across the spectrum to motivate developers to use it as a key part of their UX.

Now when only X<80% of devices lack compatibility, I'm not likely to take the time to make 3D Touch a core interaction.

So your apps have to optionally use 3D Touch, Pencil, adaptive layout, fingerprint, and several other interactions that only cover fractions of their hardware line.

You know, until you mentioned it just now, I’d forgotten my phone even has 3D Touch. It had been literally weeks since I last thought to use force-touch for anything, mostly because there is zero indication where it will work.

And it is half-baked in the sense that when I do activate 3D Touch, it’s usually by accident. It is almost the same gesture as deleting apps on the home screen! I go to delete an app, press-and-hold a little too long and instead of squiggly icons with delete buttons I get...a menu? And usually I get that the 2nd time I try, too.

Force-touch badly needs something to make it obvious, and they need to work a lot harder on making it not overlap with anything else. Ironically, for an interface that loves gratuitous animation, force-touchable objects might have made a lot more sense with some fancy appearance or animation and they have none.

Start using the keyboard trackpad for moving the cursor, selecting and deleting words, paragraphs or the whole text input. It's the killer app.

Pardon my ignorance, but what do you mean by "keyboard trackpad"? Is this on iOS or what?

Edit: HOLY WHAT!?! How did I not know that this exists?!?! I just figured it out. If you didn't know what it is, like me, then pull up any place where you can input text. Type something in and then Force Touch anywhere on the keyboard while it's showing. Your cursor will move with your finger like a trackpad. That's amazing.

I'd like to take the opportunity to point out that when people talk about how mobile touch interfaces have "low discoverability", comments like this are exactly what they're talking about.

But it should also be noted there's a difference of importance between the discoverability for basic functions, like opening apps or moving the cursor 'regularly' in a text field. Then you have the discoverability of the shortcuts, or 'power user' features which you can do without

Of course, this is all on a grade. Control Centre has a medium-low discoverability (given only a visual hint on the lock screen), and is more vital to the iPhone. The 3D Touch cursor movement is a lot less necessary (I know about it but never use it), and is a lot less discoverable. The 3D Touch-from-edge-of-screen-to-switch-between-apps gesture is there as well, but make slightly more discoverable as its easier to accidentally trigger it to learn about it for the first time.

An aside, I actually find the 'advanced' cursor movement, in both the 3D Touch form on iPhone 6s Plus and in the long-press form on the iPad Pro, to be next to impossible to use. I can never reliably figure out what triggers the different modes of it (cursor movement, text selection, etc) and thus barely ever use it.

This keyboard movement business is far from less necessary -- moving a cursor in text the traditional way, with that wonky magnifying glass and terrible snapping precision, can be borderline infuriating.

They could pop up a suggestion/tutorial the first time a user tries to refine a selection repeatedly?

Something would be nice.

Pop-up tutorials always make me feel somewhat intruded on and break the transparent assimilation between me and the tech; being reminded you don't completely control this thing in your hand (or on your monitor -- websites fall in the same boat) dampens my trust of a tool.

Maybe including it in tutorials in the system app. But, yeah something would be nice.

Deep pressing on the keyboard triggers a cursor movement (keep pressed to continue moving the cursor). Press deeper to toggle cursor selection.

DAMN IT. I knew about the cursor movement but not about the selection!

Wow. +1 for having no idea I could do that. So much easier than the old way of trying to hunt and peck the right spot with the magnifying glass.

You can do the same thing on iPad using 2 fingers.

This isn't even the end of it. Just to clarify, besides moving it like on a trackpad, you can force touch the "keyboard" while still holding down your finger, and it'll select the word underneath. Force touch again and everything will be deselected. All while you're still in the "trackpad mode".

I know, HOLY! As soon as I received my 6s I started pressing on everything and found this amazing feature. People bag on 6s force touch but I use it often and I'm a happy messenger for it.


Unfortunately the keyboard force touch only works about ~70% of the time, which is too unpredictable for me to start incorporating into regular use as a user.

It's odd that after ten years of development, Apple still hasn't made their keyboard just work. Selecting and manipulating text is still buggy and unpredictable.

I agree. I got really excited about the keyboard thing (when I edit code on my phone, proper cursor movement is severely lacking), but when I tried it on a friend's 6S I was severely underwhelmed. The activation force seemed random, and the cursor would never land where you expected. It was slower than using the little magnifying glass on the actual text.

Touch keyboards are a hard problem, but we use them so often (I'm using one now) that I think Apple would be smart to put some more thought into it.

That's an accurate assessment. I use the trackpad on my 6s+ frequently. 50% of the time it works perfectly. 50% of the time I apparently don't lift my finger in the speed or direction iOS expects, so the cursor moves forwards or backwards 1 or 2 characters from where I wanted it to stop. And I have to try again because there's no other way to nudge the cursor a character or two.

Just a little tweaking and it would be perfect. I don't have this problem with using the keyboard normally, which is quite accurate.

I just looked at the changelog for iOS 9.3 and it says:

> Improves reliability when using 3D Touch on the keyboard

Hopefully this means "just a little tweaking" was done and the feature is more comfortable to use.

If you try to use the force-touch "trackpad" too soon after you've typed a character, the keyboard thinks you're still typing and refuses to do it. You have to pause for a bit or tap somewhere outside of the keyboard then try to force-touch. At least, that has been my experience. It's incredibly frustrating because I almost always want to use it to correct something in the word I just typed.

I have the same problem with the dictation icon. Sometimes I'll start typing a message and then realize that I'd rather dictate it. Once you start typing, the keyboard goes into "typing" mode. If you try to tap the dictation icon, it thinks you're aiming for the space bar.

I think that the keyboard is trying to be "smart" by altering its behavior based on what it thinks you'll do next. The problem is that those changes aren't reflected in the UI, so there's no way for me to know about them. I'm sure I benefit from that intelligence some of the time, but I only notice it when it when the keyboard stubbornly refuses to do what I want.

If you ever find yourself trying to activate the keyboard cursor but the phone thinks you're typing, simply let off on the pressure a little (without removing your finger from the screen) and then press down again. This will switch you into cursor mode. I've found this to be 100% reliable.

wow, this works.

The 3d touch 'trackpad' thing on the keyboard is great, but i could never get it to reliabily work... but i think using this (slight push, then harder again) makes it almost completely usable.

I don't have a 6s but I think you could tweak a little bit in the Keyboard settings under _Accessibility_.

I went through a period of thinking the same: sometimes it would seem to want to type a letter instead of triggering the cursor movement. I think the key is that you just keep your finger on the screen while applying a bit more pressure (press harder, then release the pressure without lifting off the screen) to trigger the trackpad mode. I now find it 100% reliable and can't figure out how to trigger the odd behaviour I was previously experiencing.

There are a few gotchas that you have to learn which come with practice and it really pays off.

There's a delay for how quickly you can use it after the last time you've used it. The delay could/should be smaller, but don't get frustrated. Go slow and don't press too hard.

When you get used to the timings and pressures, it pays off and it's suddenly a pleasure to go and delete or correct something, or the whole input. Now I get frustrated on phones without it.

On the subject of keyboards, I have always found the iOS keyboard to be the most satisfying to use, possibly also the most accurate. What do other people like using?

I liked the windows phone keyboard, thought the Fire phone was okay, but am chronically unsatisfied with the Android typing experience. I have played with a few but settled for a while on Google Keyboard before moving onto Fleksy which isn't bad. Shame its broken for HTML text input fields...

SwiftKey on Android is still by far the best for me, but unfortunately other problems with Android (namely the dearth of high-end devices under 5") are probably going to force me to switch to iPhone.

The default Apple keyboard makes me incredibly frustrated, especially when used one-handed (which is 90% of my usage). No flow typing, and nearly all numbers, punctuation, and symbols are locked away behind layers of menus. I do find it the most accurate for typing in unpredictable plain text, but that's not very useful even for passwords (LastPass + most of my passwords have symbols in them).

Most of the third party keyboards are crippled shadows of their Android counterparts, but I can least get flow typing through them.

> SwiftKey on Android is still by far the best for me, but unfortunately other problems with Android (namely the dearth of high-end devices under 5") are probably going to force me to switch to iPhone.

The Xperia Z Compact line is, for my money, the most pleasant Android phone I've found. The Z3C is still plenty snappy and is my personal favorite, but after sacrificing mine to the pavement deities the Z5C is still pretty great.

You can access the second mode of the keyboard by tapping on the "123" icon, dragging your thumb over to the key you want to select, then lifting. This also works with capitalization + shift and international keyboards.

It works every time. Just wait for the cursor to start blinking and then deep press. It takes a while to get used to but then it just works.

Wait until the cursor stops blinking. Takes some tenths of a second after you stop typing. I was tearing out my hair until I read that.

It's not odd at all. PEBKAC is tough to solve with the constraints of a mobile device.

Well, I forget to use it on the keyboard too. :)

And the keyboard has exactly the same problem; force-touch uses space that already has a purpose and a gesture that is somewhat similar to that of the normal keyboard function. I tried it just now and there is a decent chance I will start typing random characters instead of activating it. That, to me, is a failure of an interface. I will admit that once activated correctly, the mini-trackpad is a better method for moving the cursor (although, almost anything could improve over the default text editing on iOS).

Yeah, kb trackpad is pretty much the only thing I knowingly use 3D Touch for. I randomly discovered it months ago, thought it was some confusing but at first, then realized what I'd done. The accuracy has always been slightly disappointing, though. As well as a few other little quirks, like losing its place in long text, getting stuck at the top/bottom without scrolling upward/downward, etc. but overall, pretty handy.

This app also exists for all jail broken users. A swipe over the keyboard controls the cursor, and can select, move, erase, etc. Very smooth and natural.

It's not the killer app. Blackberry devices (e.g. Passport) have had this for ages.

(Not a problem that Apple's copying tech, it's just not unique)

If by ages you mean a little over a year, then yes. But just because another device had it first doesn't mean it's not the killer app for 3D touch.

Sorry I thought you meant that 3D touch made the keyboard selection the killer app for the iPhone platform.

It seems like a year and a half is a long time in mobile phone tech. Google apps have already said that the browser that Blackberry is out of date (which speaks about both the release cycle of Blackberry for a newish phone and Google).

Either way, the touch interface is very cool on Blackberry.

As a person writing a lot of non-english text, I hate this feature with a passion because I constantly trigger it by accident when I'm trying to press-and-hold over a key to get to an alternate letter with some diacritics on it.

With my muscle memory, I end up marking parts of the text and overwriting it afterwards instead of inserting that one letter with the diacritics.

wow nice! I was only aware of the call button (useless 3 contact shortcut) and app store instant search. this is almost like a Easter egg.

I just wish this worked on third party keyboards, I can't force myself off Swiftkey to Apple's keyboard at all.

The keyboard trackpad almost always lands me off by one character however. Something about releasing pressure changes how my finger contacts the screen. I love the idea, but I usually end up needing to do the long press after trying and failing 3 times to position my cursor where I want it.

For me and my stubby wildly uncontrollable fingers, this is worth the upgrade to the 6S almost all by itself. I use this multiple times a day and it's beautiful.

(I do use 3DTouch shortcuts as well and they probably save me a whole bunch of minutes over an entire day.)

It's a nice feature. However, I found it's hard to get it right to use kb as a mouse with 3D touch. Sometimes it just wont' register no matter how hard and fast I press down. Very frustrating.

Apple, are you listening?

It's nice, but it could've been done in software. In fact I've used that on my iPhones since probably 2013/2014.

holy shit

I think 3D touch is a lot like a right-mouse click in the desktop environment, in that there is rarely anything to indicate where you can do it. You basically have to read about it or just try.

That said, I don't personally care for it. I also feel that iOS is getting too complicated.

A right-click equivalent already existed: a long press.

3D Touch is the long press controlled by finger pressure instead of time pressed. It took an already hard-to-discover feature and made it more nuanced (that is, more complicated).

It also doubles the bandwidth of that interaction. You had one slow and one fast interaction, and there now are two of each.

Big question seems to be what the best mapping between those interactions and commands is.

You want to map the most frequently used interactions to the fast interactions, but you also want the mapping to be learnable (consistency across applications likely is needed there), and 'intuitive' in the sense that the mapping starts feeling normal relatively easily.

From what I read, it seems it isn't even clear yet that there a good mapping exists under those constraints.

I do look forward to more experiments here, though. Multi-finger force touch? I can't imagine how that would work on an iPhone that you hold with one hand, but on an iPad, there might be some really useful application.

Cameras in the LCD screen that allow non-contact interactions? Apart from the "screen is a copier" use that Sun predicted in project Starfire (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starfire_video_prototype), it seems hard to envision uses, but who knows? Signing to your screen could be easier or faster than typing.

The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive—you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Please no wave-at-me interfaces.

Yes, that would be part of the challenge. A safe way would be to require some comtinuous physical interaction to activate the mode. More sophisticated would be a neural network that decides whether you are trying to communicate with your phone. Also note that it doesn't directly have to be an interface that allows you to accidentally detonate a nuke while you think you are waving to a friend passing by. Limited versions of this have been proposed for cars and trucks in the form of detectors that detect whether the driver is awake and attentive to the road.

> I can't imagine how that would work on an iPhone that you hold with one hand

I wouldn't mind those, especially if it relates to multitasking. Sometimes I hold phone with two hands.

Force-swipe to switch tabs on Safari, force-swipe two fingers to switch apps.

>It took an already hard-to-discover feature and made it more nuanced (that is, more complicated).

I would argue that it fixed the long hold, honestly. Waiting for long holds is a total pain. Being able to reach the same level of contextual menus instantly without long holding is a huge source of relief for the user in apps that rely on that kind of interaction.

You can't really argue that if it doesn't do the same thing, though

Long-hold was always one of the most annoying parts of smartphone interaction in my opinion. 3D Touch means you get instant feedback, which is more useful both when you know that a UI element supports it (so you don't have to wait when you know exactly what you want to do) and when a UI element doesn't support it (so you don't have to wait to find out).

Except when you're on the home screen; long press will let you wiggle icons and force touch will let you get app shortcuts.

Why couldn't long press do both? Make "wiggle icons" the top app shortcut or something. ("Move icon" would probably be a less silly name.)

You don't see how what you just wrote is drastically more complicated to the average user? Tiny differences in time and pressure determines two different features when pressing an app icon.

Don't invoke "the average user" when you only have data on one user. We measure things these days.

The problem with a long press is that you don't need new hardware for that, so there are no new phones that people "need" to have. ;)

I think 3D Touch is where Apple "samsunged".

The overlap with the long press, and uses they got for it are not compelling.

It should be a way to displace content and move it to other apps, for example. Or to pierce through the lock screen to command a running app (like Spotify). Or to pierce the simple interface of an app to access advanced features or something. Just thinking out loud.

It's most useful implementation is peek and pop, to preview something without committing to going into that screen. That's nothing like right click. The only place it's at all similar to right click is on the home screen, and even that is totally different than any right click implementation I've ever seen. The most similar thing is right clicking an icon on the OS X dock and seeing recently modified documents relating to that app.

The worst thing is that 3D touch made the iPhone 6s very heavy. Hopefully they get rid of it in an upcoming iteration.

The only time I remember is when I tap a link just a hair too hard and it doesn't open because it went through a fraction of a second of the force touch action. I've never "hated" a feature on the iPhone. I very strongly dislike this one.

I dislike the 3d touch on the new macbook trackpad for the same reason. i try to move something but it decides to show me a dictionary definition of that word. does anyone use the dictionary that much for this to be the default behavior?

You have to press pretty hard to trigger the second click... Once you feel it click the first time, don't keep pressing harder?

Assuming you haven't set this already, you can go into Trackpad preferences and change it from Medium to Firm. That'll switch from "you have to press pretty hard" to "goddamn dude, are you trying to break the trackpad in half?" If you're still doing that by accident, you can disable it completely.

If anybody has a force meter handy, I'm curious what the actual numbers are on these.

EDIT: QuickLook is the more useful function than Dictionary, IMO. I use it regularly.

I turned it off on my Magic Trackpad 2. It absolutely breaks drag and drop for me -- nearly 90% of drag and drop operations result in unintentional force click (which never does anything useful)

Yeah, the timing is definitely something that could use feedback.

I think they should have at least done something similar to the pull-to-refresh animation (where the shape isn’t “complete” until you’ve pulled far enough). Why couldn’t they pop up a tiny circle or something under your finger that turns like a clock and shows you how much longer you have to press to activate a 3D Touch?

I had that problem and almost turned it off before noticing that you could adjust the pressure sensitivity. At the maximum setting I never run into the issue anymore.

Re: a lack of indication where it will work, maybe it will be address in a future device that has an actual 3D display, where some UI elements hover over the "surface" closer to the user, apparent that they can be pushed in deeper. I wonder if Nintendo will implement that in their next handheld. :)

Cursor navigation with 3D touch is very nice, and a long time coming. Tap and hold the keyboard when typing to move the cursor around.

Before I learned the keyboard-trackpad thing, I just used it for that annoying Safari bug where you tap a link and it doesn't open; for whatever reason push-popping it with 3d-touch works.

If it's the quirk I think it is, you can also tap and hold the link and drag down a bit. The link often then activates.

I use the 3D Touch all the time, new email message, quick contacts, preview emails or photos. I love it.

I discovered 3D Touch after watching an Apple commercial on TV, 3 months after I got the iPhone 6s Plus.

It's because Apple has realised 3D touch is bad and it's also a very expensive feature to add to a phone.

The real question is if they will admit it was a misstep by removing it from their flagship model or just keep pretending and keep it in. Companies really hate admitting they were wrong so my bet is that they are stuck with it for the forseeable future.

Says who? 3D touch is an awesome addition. Granted it has discoverability problems but I think that adding a new dimension to the interaction is great. It is a nice way to avoid a cluttered interface while providing advanced power-user functionality.

If an expensive feature has discoverability problems, it probably doesn't sound awesome from Apple's perspective.

The current CEO of Apple is the former COO, someone well regarded for his prowess in managing Apple's supply chain and determining optimal cost per unit for Apple's products.

If only a small percentage of customers use 3D Touch and 3D Touch adds a substantial cost per unit, I can see why Mr. Cook would disagree with 3D Touch being an awesome addition.

I personally use 3D Touch to open links in new tabs in Safari, but that's only because 3D Touch interferes with the long press gesture.

Lots of Apple products have things that only power users can find/use, even under Jobs. The design philosophy is that it's not require to use, but it's there if you want it and know what you're doing.

but it's there if you want it and know what you're doing.

Yeah, but there is a difference between a software feature that, once written, would generally take more effort to remove, and a hardware feature that costs money for every unit you ship.

>If an expensive feature has discoverability problems, it probably doesn't sound awesome from Apple's perspective.

That seems to be a thing with Apple in general. For example, I just recently discovered that by holding "option" while clicking the "Format" drop-down on the Preview program's Export screen, you can get additional formats to appear, magically. For "advanced" users I'm guessing?

How the hell was I supposed to know that ??? Where else can I see additional things by holding down "option" ???

Yes, Apple is simple, but there's a lot of cute little hidden things that you can do by combining option/apple under the right circumstance. I feel like I'm playing Super Mario Bros. and jumping wildly into the air to hit some hidden block.

Discoverability is incredibly important though. I can see it being useful in games, but there's no reason it should be a core part of how normal apps function since it's not discoverable. Your average user is using over a dozen apps; absent UI clues, there's no way they are going to know which parts of each of the many different screens in each app can interact with it, and what specifically it'll do.

So far I have yet to discover an application that has a 3D touch function which is inaccessible otherwise. For me, the good use of the tech is shortcuts: It is great to force touch fantastical icon and directly create a new event rather than opening the app, going to the correct screen and then tapping the new event option. A lot of features on PCs have discoverability problems, I have, for example, encountered a few people that did not know the Ctrl/Cmd+A shortcut. But such features reward power users. I do not think that we can, at the same time, complain that the applications are getting dumbed down and oppose the additions of advanced, albeit hidden features.

> So far I have yet to discover an application that has a 3D touch function which is inaccessible otherwise.

It gives you (a bit of) pressure sensitivity in painting apps (Sketches, Paper, Procreate).

How could I have forgotten that one? you are most certainly right! However, I would argue that this is the one case where there are actually no discoverability problems.

I think it's a pretty cool input mechanism that could be used well, but I find Peak and Pop to be completely useless. What is the point of peaking? It's too slow for previewing a webpage. If you peak at a full-width photo (e.g. in a Facebook or Twitter feed) the preview isn't any bigger. I don't get it. It's always faster to just click the thing and swipe back to get back.

I tend to agree. I mostly use it to Peek at an object then swipe it up to reveal a menu of operations that can be performed on that object. That can be kind of handy.

Says who? 3D touch is a horrible addition. It has lots of discoverability problems and is inconsistent across applications. We avoid cluttering the interface by adding easter eggs to the interface for features that everyone would like to use.

But people already CAN use those features, force touch is but a shortcut mechanism. If some applications uses it in a terrible way then that is not the Apple's problem (unless, of course, the app is made by Apple)

I end up never using it. In fact it's a pain more than anything because it triggers in scenarios where I do not want to use 3d touch.

I have tried to let myself use the 3D touch a lot of times, but didn't really feel its useful. I wonder if it's just me that could not switch between the different type of gestures.

Although 3D touch is not widely supported (even by Apple's apps) the "trackpad" on the keyboard alone is worth it.

This is going a little off topic: But Microsoft's on-screen keyboard has the best trackpoint for doing that. Doesn't require 3D touch and works wonderfully.

Looks like this:


The blue dot is always there, but the four way arrows only appear after you press it, and you can drag further away to move faster, or closer to move slower.

It is one of these things that after you use it you wonder why everyone hasn't copied it yet. Microsoft's keyboard is actually the best thing on Windows Mobile.

Wow. I wish something like this was available on Windows 10 for tablets/convertibles.

Don't get me started on that.

I still want gesture based typing (Swype) on the Surface Pro. The on screen keyboard is substantially worse on full Windows 10 than it is on Windows 10 Mobile, it makes no sense at all...

What the heck Microsoft? Why is a keyboard on a 5" device better than a keyboard on a 10" one?

> It is one of these things that after you use it you wonder why everyone hasn't copied it yet.

Patents are very possible

Does IBM have a patent for the hardware version of it?

This is yet another invention from PARC that was marketed/finished outside of Xerox.

The patent was initially filed in 1990 and granted in 1996. So it should have expired in 2013. It seems to be owned by Lexmark (which was owned by IBM.)

And I heard a while ago that Microsoft is working on bringing their keyboard to iOS. The 3rd party keyboard APIs on iOS are still awful, which would explain any delay/hesitance on their part. :(

Apple's accessibility feature works the same way.

I don't know why Apple didn't do something similar for phones without 3D Touch.

Wow, I've had an iPhone 6S for months and didn't realize this existed.

Maybe I should check the documentation, but this also highlights the discoverability problem of 3D Touch. I guess I need to get in the habit of trying to "3D Touch" all over the place to find new features?

Wow, same here. Nifty little feature.

^ This is also IMO the best use of 3D Touch.

This video explains how to activate it for those who haven't used it before.


Edit: I wasn't aware of the double peek to select whole sentences. Cool.

It's great when it works, but it's a shame that it barely works. There is clearly some state machine with lots of states that don't let you activate the trackpad.

It's really weird how you must wait a short moment after touching the keyboard until you can hard-press, or it will just ignore you. Then you let go, and now you accidentally typed a letter...

would have worked better with a button on the keyboard that turns it into a trackpad.

Yeah, it's much nicer on the iPad, where you just scroll with 2 fingers to use the trackpad feature.

Much improved in my experience in iOS 9.3 that came out today. Thankfully, because it was infuriating before.

Why didn't they just implement the two finger trackpad from the ipad?

You can't use that gesture one-handed.

You have pinch to zoom all over ios, so that is obviously not the reason.

No you don't. Double tap also zooms.

I couldn't agree more - this makes typing and correcting mistakes unbelievably easier.

To the point that I get frustrated when I have to write on a phone without it.

It's really nice to be able to move the cursor and select text so easily and fast. It feels like a hack.

>It's because Apple has realised 3D touch is bad and it's also a very expensive feature to add to a phone.


They regularly withhold features from cheaper versions to achieve better margins and lower the cost, nothing about them being bad.

And nothing about 3D Touch being bad. Where did you ever get that?

I wouldn't say 3D touch is entirely a bad feature. I agree with the argument that 3D touch features are usually hard to discover (took me a while to realize you could press the keyboard to get a "trackpad"). Some of the features you get from it are nice little quality-of-life things though, like quick app switching. It will be tough getting app developers to decide to implement 3D touch features when it isn't supported by everything, of course.

>I wouldn't say 3D touch is entirely a bad feature. I agree with the argument that 3D touch features are usually hard to discover

That doesn't make them bad -- just hard to discover.

Once you find out about them, they are dead easy.

Not all UIs have to be immediately apparent, UI design is also about teaching users new idioms. Pointing with a mouse was alien once too...

But that's kinda the thing; how do you end up finding out about them? Unlike buttons which appear on-screen, 3D touch interfaces aren't immediately visible and require special onboarding, which isn't always great even with conventional features.

Another example, a great feature in Google Maps on mobile is the ability to zoom with one hand. You double tap and drag (tap, tap-and-hold, drag), but I only figured this out because some blog talked about it. From what I can tell there are no instructions in the app that tell you about this feature, and I see this as being in the same vein as 3D touch. Sure it's great, but if people don't know about it or can't learn about it easily, they won't reap the benefits.

> From what I can tell there are no instructions in the app that tell you about this feature

It's fine for secondary controls (other ways to zoom). I'd say Google learned the lesson with the now discontinued Menu button on Android. Application authors would sometimes hide critical functionality behind a Menu button press, and sometimes the Menu button did nothing. This lack of discoveribility and inconsistency is bad for User Interaction

> Another example, a great feature in Google Maps on mobile is the ability to zoom with one hand. You double tap and drag (tap, tap-and-hold, drag), but I only figured this out because some blog talked about it.

This is a native Android gesture, by the way, and works in most apps and web-pages. It used to work on HN, but stopped when they changed the markup to be more mobile-friendly.

>But that's kinda the thing; how do you end up finding out about them?

Someone shows you, you see someone do it, you accidentally press and activate it, you watch the introductory "wizard", you see it in an iPhone ad -- there are literally tons of ways.

Including the one everybody hates, RTFM...

This is really no different than OS X, except that it somehow is different.

What I mean by that is that OS X has hundreds of small features, keystrokes and affordances that are probably documented somewhere, but that I and most other people tend to find either by accident or by being told about them.

Apple's products have always been this way, and I rather like it. It is similar to my learning experiences with physical tools - over time, I've found a lot of tricks and 'off-label' uses for various woodworking tools by experience, and the OS sort of mimics that process.

For whatever reason, it doesn't work as well on the phone. I suspect it is partly that I don't spend hours at end doing things with my phone - I look something up, send a text, call someone, whatever and put it back in my pocket. A second factor is I almost never do complicated things on a phone. I have edited code in vi and then pushed/deployed it from my 6s, but not by choice, and that's not even that complicated.

So I do think discoverability is somewhat worse on a phone, at least for the way I use one, and it seems like an indirect form-factor consequence. It isn't that the form factor can't be used for complex tasks, but it is much more comfortable elsewhere, so the phone stays relegated to simpler stuff, which doesn't lead to the same degree of discovery/experimentation/happy accidents.

> Some of the features you get from it are nice little quality-of-life things though, like quick app switching.

You can quickly switch apps using 3D Touch? How?

Force-press the left edge of the screen, then swipe to the right. It can take a little bit of practice to get a hang of it. I find kinda rolling my thumb works well to trigger it. Swiping all the way across goes to the last app, just partway opens up the app switcher.

Did... not... know... this. Very cool.

What about killing a tab in chrome? In android, I could hit back and it would kill that tab and take me to the previous one, which works beautifully for Reddit. With iOS it's like five clicks to get back to the previous tab.

Wow that's amazing. I'll use this so much now.

It's because Apple has realised 3D touch is bad

I think it's more about segmentation. For people who prefer smaller phones, there is still a reason to go for an iPhone 6s with a higher price point anyway. If the se was exactly the same except screen size, it might cannibalize the 6s.

It works reasonably well on the Apple Watch, where screen real estate for touching "objects" is minimal. Force-touching on the notifications view, for example, is the only way to clear all notifications.

That said, I've never used it on the iPhone -- if anything, Force Touch only gave us some shortcuts to actions that long-time users have already acquired "muscle memory" to perform differently (and without significantly more steps).

Force Touch is perhaps the one thing I truly dislike about the Watch.

Force Touch is just a menu button. Only it's a menu button that's extremely fussy and difficult to use.

I actually struggle to save my workouts on the Watch because after a workout when I'm sweaty and breathing heavily, it's damn near impossible to bring up the menu and save the workout.

The Watch would be a better device if it had a hardware menu button instead of Force Touch.

Same goes for the iPhone. Force Touch is only useful for bringing up the app shortcut menu, and for positioning the cursor in a text field. Those are important but utterly mundane features. You don't need a sophisticated force-sensitive screen to bring up a menu for move a cursor, and those features would be easier to use if they were not implemented using Force Touch.

I hate it on the watch. I'm not that uncoordinated and always misfiring it and confused by what happens. For anyone actually disabled I'd imagine it must be a sick joke accessibility anti-pattern.

I don't understand this. I have such an easy time with Force Touch but yet you're definitely not the first person I've heard say this. I can hit the Force Touch menus everywhere with 99% accuracy. Most people that I've seen do this seem to press really hard to try and activate it but it's much more subtle than that. It's even hard to describe but the activation isn't because of a harder touch, it's because of a "deeper" touch. At least that's how I was introduced to it and now I absolutely love it.

I see two problems:

1. Speed. The delay between a force touch and the haptic feedback is often measured in seconds rather than milliseconds, particularly when the watch has been inactive for a period of time. That kind of delay is frankly outrageous. The haptic feedback needs to be instantaneous to be effective, even if it takes the actual software longer to wake up and respond.

2. Tap vs. Scroll. Unlike the iPhone, the Watch does an especially poor job of distinguishing between tap and scroll gestures. If your finger isn't perfectly still the software will treat it as a scroll gesture, and no amount of force will override it.

Pairing those two behaviors can produce some frustrating user experiences.

On the original iPhone, Apple did an amazing job of producing a very fluid and responsive UI on very humble and underpowered hardware. They've been less successful at doing the same with the Watch hardware.

That's probably why I'm having so much success then. I scroll almost exclusively with the crown. I never have issues with taps being interpreted as scroll actions. My wife also got an Apple watch and kept having issues sending heartbeats and sketches until I gave her the same example ("deeper" not "harder" - giggity). Now, the only issues she ever has are when her nails get in the way.

The Force Touch on the trackpads is a fantastic step forward in UI interactivity. Haven't tried it on touchscreens but I think it would be great as well.

I'm seriously surprised at the amount of hate on here for 3D touch. I've been waiting for pressure-sensitive interfaces on phones since they came out! And now it's here and everyone hates it!

I for one hope they keep it around and just work to improve it's accuracy and discoverability in future iterations.

Chances are they will remove the physical home button in iPhone 7 and replace it with 3D touch. At least there is one use case for it then.

Not sure if this is what you meant, but the SE probably isn't meant to be the flagship phone for Apple this year.

They didn't say it was, what they said was:

> The real question is if they will admit it was a misstep by removing it from their flagship model or just keep pretending and keep it in.

They're talking about removing it from the flagships in the FUTURE. Specifically the 7 and 7 Plus later this year.

Yes, that's why I said I wasn't sure what they meant, as in they didn't specify future phones or not.

Honestly, I suspect they did it first for cost and second because they want to make sure it is only used to add a quick way to do small things. I would honestly be surprised if they weren't worried from the beginning that it could end up being an abused, overcrowded right click menu. Not in including it here helps ensure that it won't be used to add features unavailable in another way.

> they want to make sure it is only used to add a quick way to do small things.

I don't understand this point at all. What does it have to do with not including the feature on a smaller device? "Because it might be used too much" makes no sense.

It's not "because it might be used too much," it's "because developers might bury tons of functions where no one will ever find them, because that's easier than designing a learnable/discoverable UI."

Whether you agree with the argument depends on how much faith you have in developers/designers to understand how average users will experience and learn their software, and in whether they might go for the lazy "shove it in a contextual menu" solution even knowing that it's questionable at best. 3D touch is supposed to be a "power user" feature; if you don't know it's there you can get by just fine. It'll take you an extra half second to open an email.

By holding it hostage on some new products, Apple can hope for more developers to say "I'll use this for time-saving shortcuts and other convenience features since the iPhone SE users don't have it." Once best-practices for that are more ingrained and many apps have implemented it in a way that lines up with Apple's vision, there's less risk of buried features when they eventually include 3D touch across the lineup.

Whereas developers and hackers tend to like a surfeit of user interface features, the mass market is not as comfortable with it. Apple really likes to be the party in control of the degree of minimalism in the UI expressed by iOS devices.

That's not a terrible theory. The UX of holding the screen down is terrible because it's completely hidden and requires you to guess. Not sure why they opted to include it in the first place.

But why would that theory specifically apply to a smaller device, and not the 6S as well?

It's kind of a shame to see so much hate for a neat feature. I think a lot of non developers gave Apple shit for 3D touch as just another gimmick because they don't see the fundamental interaction problem that it solved. Long holds on mobile are excruciating interactions for people, and 3D touch fixes that. It allows the user to reach a deeper level of contextual actions, without forcing them to wait like a long tap and hold does. Anything that empowers the user like that is a huge win in my mind.

I really hope apple sticks with it moving forward. As a developer I have been having a blast coming up with new and interesting ways to use it that legitimately increase a user's satisfaction and the usefulness of an app.

>Long holds on mobile are excruciating interactions for people, and 3D touch fixes that

But it doesn't provide an easier way to access long hold functionality, instead of provides different functionality that could be activated accidentally instead of long hold functionality.

e.g it doesn't make deleting apps less tedious, it instead adds a shortcut menu you might activate by accident when trying to delete the app.

In my view it would have been OK if force touch had been equivalent to a long hold. The problem is that force touch and long hold do different things.

In my view, a long hold was always basically a "secondary click"—but Apple didn't use it for much, since it was so tedious. So, rather than getting a menu, it mostly served to activate a single important secondary function on the item. (And devs came up with different solutions for menus, like side-swiping in list-views; and modal multi-select, with additional actions to apply to selected results.)

Force touch, on the other hand, isn't tedious, so it does what Apple wanted to do: it gives you a menu. I would expect that whatever a long hold does to an item should also be a thing on that menu. You could think of a long hold, then, as the "default secondary action"—like how shell object handlers in Windows use their "default primary action" from their context menu when double-clicked.

I haven't tried it, but this library claims to emulate 3D touch on non-3D touch devices by checking UITouch's majorRadius value.


And although 3D Touch is almost entirely unused by almost everybody as far as I can tell, the actual physical implementation of it is brilliant. I wrote this: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/3d-touch-explorer/id10603467... to demonstrate it (source code here: https://github.com/benslaney/3D-Touch-Explorer). The amount of granularity and the sensitivity of it - equal all over the screen - is crazy.

I don't understand why everyone is ignoring the simple answer that no 3D touch is simply a result of the same 5S screen being used? Presumably 3D touch requires a haptic layer on the screen so if that's not present, it can't exist.

Dare I ask why I'm being downvoted? As far as I can tell, [1] suggests that there's additional hardware involved in the screen to make 3D touch work. Is it that this hardware exists but just isn't being used? Is it that people think it's a trivial addition to revise the 4" screen to include this hardware and that Apple were just lazy?

I'm genuinely curious, because I have not seen anyone say "hey maybe they just used the same screen as the 5S and that's why 3D touch is left off" but I have seen a lot of "I don't understand why Apple neglected to include 3D touch in the SE".

[1]: http://www.apple.com/au/iphone-6s/3d-touch/

3D touch was a gimmick anyways, I am happy to see it go. It was weird and uncanny and there were only a few applications where it made sense.

See it go? I'd wait for the iPhone 7 event to see if 3D Touch is left to the history books.

Phone companies copy the best features from each other.

You didn't see apple implementing Samsung's "show your face to unlock your phone" feature because it was kinda slow and dumb. Likewise, I don't see any Android phones with 3D touch.

Yet when front-facing cameras came out, EVERYONE jumped on that feature, now your phone is dead in the water without it.

It was left to the history books the moment other manufacturers said 'meh, we don't need this right now'.

Strongly agree.

I went into the Apple store and couldn't even figure out how to get 3D touch to work and spent quite a while. After research it seems like you need to magically know which apps support it and even then which interfaces within the app. It is very obscure.

Apple is often first to market with new stuff, and sometimes I look on in jealousy (e.g. when Siri first shipped), but 3D touch is one of those features I never want Android to copy. I think it makes Apple's ecosystem worse and is opposed to their "simple and straightforward" UI strategy.

What were they thinking?

To be fair, some apps have implemented '3d' touch on android which is basically just a glorified long press, so you can at least access the same kind of ux purely through software.

Pretty sure that UI feature predates 3d touch many years.

Android has had an API for getting pressure of a click since API level 5, which shipped with Android 2.0 "Eclair" in 2009 - https://developer.android.com/reference/android/view/MotionE...

Several apps came out within days of the Apple 3D Touch announcement, such as https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.casual_dev..., that were installable and worked on existing Android phones. Since it was basically evidence of another Apple copy-paste, this information was basically ignored by iGizmodo / iVerge / etc, so many people think that Apple "invented" pressure-sensitive touch events, despite getting them a full 5 years after Android.

I believe that the reason that pressure sensitive apps were met with a "meh" on Android is because long-click works great and people understand it. Click to do a thing, long-click to get a context menu on a thing. It works everywhere, even on many Apple-developed iOS apps that haven't been "upgraded" to 3D Touch yet.

>Yet when front-facing cameras came out, EVERYONE jumped on that feature, now your phone is dead in the water without it.

When do you think front-facing cameras came out?

The answer is, they were rather common in (non-touch) smartphones outside the U.S. before the first iPhone was even rumoured of, yet Apple only introduced one in the 4th generation of their phones.

Isn't "show your face to unlock your phone" part of the standard Android core, and not Samsung's creation?

As far as I'm aware, Apple has never removed hardware functionality on a future generation of that iOS device. I would expect the iPhone 7, 7S, 8, etc to all have 3D Touch. Now, whether they continue to integrate it into more places in the OS will remain to be seen.

The floppy drive, the DVD drive, the Ethernet port, the MagSafe port...

Fair enough, I should have specified "iOS device". Though I would argue that the MagSafe change doesn't count as it still retains the same functionality, it's just a different form factor.

MagSafe has been removed from the new 12" Macbooks.

He's saying that USB 3 charging counts as the same functionality, which is a fair point that I had thought about but I thought I'd throw it in the mix anyway. :)

Great examples. Most of which were removed with the introduction of the iMac and Steve Jobs rejoining the company.

That said floppy drive was available for 14 years (128K->iMac) so that should give you some idea of the commitment Apple has to keeping technologies in place.

except headphone jacks

That will remain to be seen. Every iPhone, iPad, and Mac Apple is selling right now has a headphone jack.

or the 30-pin dock-connector

I don't think this counts, as the Lightning connector retained the same functionality as the 30-pin connector. Sure, you can't connect old 30-pin cables or accessories without an adapter, but no functionality was lost.

One could say the same of the audio jack

There's a subtle distinction though - the 30-pin connector and the Lightning connector can only be used to connect to or from an iOS device. If Apple removed the headphone jack and encouraged people to buy Lighting headphones instead, those headphones could not be used to connect to anything else other than an iOS device, and you would not be able to use any of the headphones that use the standard connector on the new device. Basically, the 30-pin to Lightning changeover swapped one proprietary port for another, and did not change any of the potential use cases for that connector.

3D Touch is confusing enough as-is for new users...

Now you don't even know which devices support it. Very frustrating from the UX standpoint.

> No 3D touch is a very odd fragmentation.


I see this as a sign that 3D touch is not getting much traction.

It's not fragmentation. Pencil and 3D Touch were designed as optional features from the get-go. It makes perfect sense to reserve them for their premium devices.

Fragmentation is more like when apps run poorly on less popular Android phones because of all the differences (screen sizes, performance characteristics, etc.). But optional features like 3D Touch peek/pop aren't really essential to make apps run well. They're bonuses. And there's literally tens millions of people who can use 3D Touch already, so it's an optional feature probably worth implementing. And if you're building a design app it makes complete sense to support the Pencil, which is specifically targeted at that niche.

Also you're mistaken about Touch ID and adaptive layout. Touch ID is standard across all current devices, and adaptive layout helps you support them all with minimal work.

It's curious that the smaller phone is not a 'pro' device. I just want it to be smaller, not less powerful or even less expensive. There are of course size which limitations which dictate that smaller devices cannot cram all capabilities into the same space. But to the extent that is not true, let me pay for a powerful small iPhone.

Apple wanted to create an up-to-date budget device. What you're describing would be cool, but it's just not the market that Apple was targeting.

I'd like that; a 4"-4.5" flagship-level device. Small hardware shouldn't be relegated to the bargain bin.

I'm in the same boat. Updated year after year and got all of them up to the 5s. The 6 form factor annoys me, too big to hold it confortably and too small to actually replace the ipad. Wouldn't pay premium proce for the c device of a generation past, this se perfectly fits the bill of what a smartphone should be to me

There have been ongoing rumors of supply chain issues for 3D Touch parts going all the way back to the 6S announcement.

Also a reason I won't be buying the SE, but will be holding out for the 7 instead or even get a 6S. If i'm to develop iPhone apps, I want the full set of UI tools at hand..

>No 3D touch is a very odd fragmentation. You'd think they'd want to shore up their devices to be completely compatible with this across the spectrum to motivate developers to use it as a key part of their UX.

1) 3D Touch is not that important a part of the UI anyway, as devices are fully functional without it.

2) Developers will add it to their apps anyway, to entice high end users -- it's a very competitive landscape for apps, so they can't afford not too, even if it's only in half the new iPhone models.

3) Eventually it will be present to all devices anyway. In the meantime, the cheaper SE models allows Apple to cater better to places like India without sacrificing much.

> 2) Developers will add it to their apps anyway, to entice high end users -- it's a very competitive landscape for apps, so they can't afford not too, even if it's only in half the new iPhone models.

App developer here. Patently false. I actually haven't implemented 3D touch in any app. Want to guess how many support requests I've received for it? Zero.

>App developer here. Patently false. I actually haven't implemented 3D touch in any app. Want to guess how many support requests I've received for it? Zero.

Well, I said "will add it to their apps anyway", Not "already have added it". And I'm talking about flagship apps , the kind everyone has on their home screens, not any random app or developer.

It's not a "no true scotchman" either. Obviously I know that not all of the smaller/casual/fart/etc apps are gonna get it -- heck, I've got several old apps that haven't been updated for even for far more important changes (like Retina assets or larger screen sizes).

So, if you make "Funtime Googly Eyes" or "Milan Metro timetables" you might not add 3D Touch. But apps like Facebook, Twitter, Gmaps, Dropbox, Gmail, Evernote, Instamatic, Flipboard, Procreate, VSCO, etc, are sure gonna add it. (and lots of smaller apps wanting to differentiate themselves too, but all the big ones are getting it sooner or later -- some already have).

> as devices are fully functional without it.

Depends on how the app is programmed.

Yes, but I've never seen any app, including Apples, that solely relies on it.

Still, there might be 10 of such apps out there. But I doubt there will be 100.

From a product standpoint it doesn't really make sense. Maybe they're just refurbishing old iPhone 5's and they can't build in the 3D touch capability.

There's a good technical reason why it's not on their 4inch phone - lack of space, which AFAIK that sensor takes quite a bit. There's not a good reason why it's not on their iPad Pro lineup, their biggest and (at least for part of the lineup) most expensive iOS devices.

Perhaps the reason for lack of 3D Touch on the iPad Pros is that it is too much space, and the sensing technology doesn't scale well enough?

That's an interesting point, I haven't yet thought of that. Could be. Maybe you'd need a whole array of these sensors behind the screen at different positions.

$399 USD is great, but why are we still stuck with 16 GB of storage on base model phones? You can barely put a day's worth of music on your phone and you cannot always stream via services like Spotify.

Spotify accounts for 2 GB of traffic per month on my phone and some plans are barely affordable when you want more than that--fortunately I can do up to 6 GB before I am traffic shaped, but that isn't the say the same for all carriers in this country.

It's only $60 [1] or less to replace the iPhone NAND Flash Memory from 16GB to 128GB at Shenzhen's Huaqiangbei[2], labor included.

Obviously, it's advisable to do the upgrade after your warranty has expired. ;)

[1] http://9to5mac.com/2016/02/03/iphone-flash-storage-upgrade-s...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huaqiangbei

And as it turns out, Qihoo 360, one of the largest security software vendors in China [1], officially offers this iPhone NAND Flash memory 16GB -> 128GB upgrade service backed by a 30-day warranty under its subsidiary 360 Bang for RMB 399 (roughly $60). 360 Bang is a BestBuy GeekSquad-alike Mail-in repair service. [3]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qihoo_360

[2] http://bang.360.cn/huodong/up128

[3] http://bang.360.cn

That is awesome! I wish ifixit would train some people to do this.

I have an iPhone 4s that is "the kids phone" for my two-year old so she can watch YouTube and Netflix. I'd love to upgrade that so I could put all the other movies she likes on there as well.

Yup. Equipments and tools aside, the BGA IC chip soldering / desoldering skills you've seen fast forwarded through the clip are some serious skills that take time to practices.

PS: This technique has been around since April 2015. A Youtube search yields roughly 8000 videos. I wouldn't be surprised that there are dozens or even hundreds [1] of this "repair shops" in Shenzhen's huaqiangbei or Beijing's Zhongguancun [2] electronics market.

There was even a similar video tutorial made by iFixit Vietnam;) [3]

[1] https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=iphone+nand+fla...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhongguancun

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQFpay9HgEk (by iFixit.vn)

That usually requires significant soldering experience with SMT components and can possibly require soldering a BGA which is crazy hard (up to impossible) if you're not a machine.

Yup! The technicians shown in the video said they usually have around 50 "upgrades" a day done in the shop and this techniques has been around since April 2015.

Worst comes to be worst, Huaqiangbei has tons of vendors who sell iPhone scrape parts so an accidental damage can be easily "replaced" and fixed up.

And I wouldn't be surprised if some of the technicians were Foxconn trained workers.

Are you in China? (This is not a criticism) your grammar sounds as though you may be Chinese.

I wonder how many people in the China tech scene read HN?

Yes English grammar isn't my strongest suit. But no, I am stateside.

Fortunately, HN + Github are accessible free within China so I wouldn't be surprised there are significant Chinese engineers using these sites daily.

Write Sam Altman a nice email, he may just tell you the detail stats to answer your question directly ;)

I'm in China but I can only speak for me - I read HN everyday.

Sounds like a native speaker to me.

Seems irrelevant, it's some district in China and ruins the warranty. Doesn't seem like a good solution at all.

16GB is enought for me. I don't watch movies, I don't listen to much music and I don't install apps. Just a phone with some basic apps and internet connections.

I also think 4 inches is decent size for my pocket.

I think I'll buy my first iPhone soon. Good job, Apple.

If this will be your first iPhone, you've picked a good one to get started with. My first and only iPhone, after nearly 5 years, is the iPhone 4S which is seemingly an identical body as this SE. And it is a rock-solid, perfect little machine. I've dropped it countless times on brick and cement and it has no scratches on it after all this time -- never even put a case on it. These larger, thin phones that have come since have been a lot more fragile.

I maintain that the iPhone 4S is still the finest piece of consumer electronics ever created. They really hit a home run with that one.

I've since moved to a big 6S, but my 4S is still quite usable.

The 4S was a real landmark in UI smoothness as well, as it was the first dual-core iPhone.

Previously, even if a developer was on his best behavior (putting expensive tasks on a background thread to avoid bogging down the main thread and causing a frame rate drop), it didn't really help, because you only had one hardware thread.

Even though the 4S is a "slow" processor compared to the latest phones, it's UI was way more usable than the 4 and 3GS because of the second processor core.

+1, the 4S was Steve's final masterpiece.

The SE has the same size body as a 5/5S. But I agree with you. I believe the 4S is the best phone Apple made for its time, and it's still very useful.

As a longtime 4S user: Let me just tell anyone who takes this comment serious to not upgrade beyond iOS 6.x. 4S with the latest iOS is painfully slow.

I actually run on 9 because I need a couple apps that rely on 8, but yes, it is slow. If you upgrade too far and want to go back, there are ways to downgrade back to 6 such as http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/downgrade-iphone-4s-ipad-2-ios-6-1-...

I don't think anyone will take pro-4S comments seriously except people who already own a 4S and know the tradeoffs, though!

Well, I can see people buying this used because it looks good and fits in their hands. Thanks for the link. I run on 9 too - if it weren't for the SE which I'm going to buy I'd downgrade by now since it has become rather unbearable. I can load like one webpage into the RAM - switching to another app and going back to Safari will reload again - which, depending on connection and complexity of the page can take ages and you're also at the top of the scroll area again. Basically, this iPhone has become my E-Mail notifier and Podcast device (for which it's also at the edge of unbearable).

Yes, using a 4S at this point definitely changes your behavior. Like you, I was holding out for the SE and I'm really happy it's here and looks good (except for the 1GB RAM; that is disappointing.)

Yes, the 1GB is troublesome. However, judging by the 4S at least we know that half of it will be available for apps in iOS 9, since the 512 of the 4S is right at the edge of being filled by the OS. The question is of course how many upgrades it will survive - this smells a lot like planned obsolescence.

Why not get some Nokia candybar? It will cost a heck of a lot less than $400 and comes with some basic apps and lets you make calls.

My honest answer is:

   o Photostream/iCloud Photos.
   o Rock Solid/Fast Camera
   o Overcast
   o Tweetbot
   o All the IOS controls in Finger DNA

If you need a very basic phone you really don't need an iPhone. Save your money.

> basic apps

Any other cheap phone doesn't truly meet this requirement, aside from some Chinese mid-range Android handset (which have their own issues, typically, except perhaps the Meizu or OneTouch phones). Maybe a Motorola G would also fit, but there's something to be said for having what is basically a top-of-the range handset that works flawlessly and will continue to do so for years afterwards.

My iPhone 5S is 3 years old at this point, and is still perfect. I bought it 12 months ago, second-hand and couldn't be happier.

If you haven't actually had an iPhone before, I'm not sure I'd be so confident 16 GB is enough. My wife's needs are also quite basic, but she was always running into storage limitations on her 16 GB iPhone 5s.

It encourages people to spend an extra $100. If the base model were 32GB, far fewer would.

If the 16GB phone would just treat the local storage like a cache for everything it would be plenty of storage. With rare exceptions the expiry rules for my usage would be quite simple. That app I use once every two months can be re-downloaded when I want to use it (it's probably less than 20 MB in size anyway).

That seems great in theory, but many people still have really restrictive data caps on their plans, so I'm not sure we are quite ready for that model.

It would also suck if you had an app on your phone like a star/constellation map, which you only use every once in a while when you are out in the middle of nowhere... To have your phone automatically delete that app, then try to re-download it when there isn't any way to do so would be a pretty awful experience.

Works well for something like the Apple TV - I don't think it's good for phones yet.

Well I'd want to be able to flag certain apps to not be expired, or to be restored next time I connect to WiFi if they were cleared for some reason.

Apps that take more than a second or two to download over LTE would be the difficult edge cases, but there are very few such apps, and even if they occupied 50% of the phone's storage and were never reaped the caching approach would be fine.

The big issue is the data cap, but things are trending toward unlimited data (I have it with T-Mobile now) and many of us are often connected to WiFi at least periodically throughout the day.

Most of the apps that are installed on my iOS device are ~100MB - slack (140) Snapchat (140) Spotify (100) viber(100) messenger (97) Airbnb (97) Etsy/Yelp/Starbucks/ are all roughly 70MB - Facebook is ~150 I believe. The worst part is that all of those apps are pretty much webviews...

Facebook's app has a super-bloated > 100MB binary:


I think they have something like 150+ iOS devs, so they're almost up to a megabyte per dev!

This is partly why I just stick to the mobile version of the site. It's a slightly buggy sometimes (repetitious frontpage), but it works well enough and it isn't draining my battery in the background for no reason.

Messenger is another facebook app, which is almost 100MB on top of having facebook installed.

Nextbit Robin Android phone does exactly that : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31SHvxSxrj4

Sadly cache invalidation is one of the two hard problems in computer science. It sounds easy and simple but... it's not.

I realize that, but what aspects of it do you think are particularly hard in the example I used? Right now many people with 16GB phones have to go through a fairly painful manual process to avoid getting error messages/warnings about storage.

So while it is difficult, I think that from a product perspective there would be only upside to treating it as a cache compared with the horrible usability of a 16GB IOS device with a typical 2016 usage pattern.

Out of curiosity... what is the other hard problem?

"There are two hard things in computer science, cache invalidation, naming things, and off by one errors."

cache invalidation: distributed resource synchronization

naming things: all things abstraction

off by one: we always fuck it up somehow

Naming things and off-by-one errors.

Naming things. Also off-by-one errors.

and do not forget the cloud storage. Moore's law is in decadence

Not bandwidth, though.

checks Settings->General->Storage

I've got 5GB free on my 16GB phone. You've explained why 16GB is not a good fit for you, but that doesn't mean it's not a good fit for anyone.

Using 20GB on an android phone without any music.

I am always surprised by these expansive US plans.

In France for instance, you can have 50 GB LTE for 20 € per month (with Free). In Austria, 10 GB LTE for 15 € is not uncommon.

France and Austria, unlike Canada are very much dense so the infrastructure required to setup an LTE/UMTS/etc network is less costly.

To travel from Vancouver to the next principal Canadian city (Calgary), it requires 900 KM of driving and there's only really one metropolitan area of sorts between the two, meaning that you're going to be setting up cell towers that handle only so much traffic in a day.

As a result, to get service where you end up with just traffic shaping once you go beyond 6 GB (beyond that there is no real limit really), you need to go with a carrier that only services the larger cities. So in my case, my carrier services just Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa, which are fairly dense areas with a combined population of 18 million or so, or just about half of the country's population. Once I leave the city, I have to piggyback on to other carriers however.

Hence why mobile carriers suck in Canada because the bigger carriers do not want to eat into their fairly large profit margins. They can afford to offer such plans, but they simply don't want to.

For the record, I pay $40 CAD/month ($30 USD or 27 EUR) for unlimited North American calling and text plus the "unlimited" data use.

> France and Austria, unlike Canada are very much dense so the infrastructure required to setup an LTE/UMTS/etc network is less costly

You are wrong.

Both countries have parts of the country covered by the Alps, high mountains that make cell coverage expensive and several areas still have very spotty coverage with often very old GPRS/Edge-only cell towers.

Also there is a competition going on with more than four telecom companies competing that lowers consumers monthly costs (cell phone data plans).

Additionally the former state based telecom copper cables infastructure aged badly and hasn't been touched for 15 years and the fiber network infrastructure connects just big cities, bit not small towns in the Alps. In many areas cell connection is the only option to get 1+Mbit data connection, as the copper cable infrastructure hasn't been upgraded since the mid nineties.

For the joke, I studied mobile networking in Canada, and we studied how actually, the dense areas are what cost the most money to the mobile operator.

The "we are a big country" is just a marketing stunt.

Agreed. This is a sad excuse used by mediocre gov't and corporate entities to offer poor service and value for money.

For example, when I visit relatives in the Frankfurt region (Mainz), I am always amazed by how similar geographically and demographically it is to the greater Toronto area in Ontario. Population and industry wise Toronto and Frankfurt are very similar -- similar financial sector jobs, similar population densities.

And yet their infrastructure is _far_ superior. I take the train from Frankfurt to Mainz in like 20 minutes. From the Mainz train station there is integrated light rail and bus to a whole network of suburbs and villages, right out into the countryside. If I want to go for a hike in a forest preserve, I don't even need a car necessarily, I can take a streetcar and a bus to many very nice places.

Accessibility of food -- groceries, farmer's markets, restaurants. All better.

And yes, the telecoms infrastructure is far superior value for the money.

North America has let itself fall behind for several decades.

Sweden is not dense at all and we have a lot more data for a lesser cost. I don't think density of cities are the only explanation.

Sweden is roughly the size of California, and roughly 1/25th the size of Canada.

As for population density, Sweden is about 6x more dense than Canada (23 people / sq km vs 4, respectively).

It's comparatively a dense country.

> Sweden is about 6x more dense than Canada

Canada quite a high effective density -- something like 80 or 90% of the population live within 100 miles of the US border. Those statistics are not terribly convincing.

Better, I think, to note that Sweden has a high proportion of urban residents at 87%, compared to around 83% for Canada and the US.


I'm not sure you can compare densities just like that, since there are large parts of Canada nobody is expecting them to cover

Which carrier/plan?

WIND Mobile. The plan isn't offered any longer but there are similar ones available.

But it's 3G only. No LTE on WIND (they keep promising it will come).

France is pretty unique and shows that in most countries telco's act as a cartel to keep prices inflated artificially.

Those damn socialists, with their paid vacations, short working days, good infrastructure, cheap services, and free school and healthcare. Not to mention all the wine, cheese, secularism and protesting. Heathens...

It's hardly unique. Here in Finland, the prices are comparable, though data caps are rare. 20€/mo gets you LTE with some bundled calls and SMS. Rest of the Nordics should be fairly similar. Currently I pay 18€/mo for my 50Mbps uncapped LTE, I use it as my home connection.

For Free, the maximum debit is 150Mbit/s, and they throttle to 128Kbit/s after the 5OGB...

It wasn't much different before Free mobile kick in the hive.

What impulse makes people think that comparing an isolated fact from something so multidimensional makes for an interesting contribution? Particularly considering this isolated fact is contributed to every tangentially related conversation, I really struggle to see the value in commenting with it.

WOW I SAY WOW!! No way you can get that in Spain!

Same here in Germany, our mobile prices are ridiculous.

Well if Germany is ridiculous, US/Canada is ludicrous :D

Based on my experience being in Germany recently, it's worse or about the same as Canada/US.

You haven't seen Romania. At RCS & RDS here I pay 4.84 euros for unlimited 4G/LTE + 500 minutes of international/national calling.


I have internet plan for 20 GB/month for 20 €/year (single payment) in Kazakhstan. But, unfortunately, only 3G. They promised 4G this year.

Well, at least you have a constant 3G connection. I can't even get that. In a freaking capital of the country (Bosnia & Herzegovina).

Across the border here in Italy, 5GB for €20/month is a good deal. If you are very lucky you can even get a 4G signal.

France is the size of my backyard. Of course the cost of infrastructure & maintenance is going to be lower.

That being said, yes, we are getting very bad price on that side of the ocean because of price inflation.

Always the same excuse that doesn't even hold up.

  * US population density: 35/km2
  * Finland population density: 18/km2
It's not about the size of the country, it's because in Europe the infrastructure owners are required to let others in [1]. In US the operators are natural monopolies with very little incentives for competition.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_network_operato...

Finland has a higher proportion of urban residents than the US. The US is also known for its huge number of small and mid-sized cities and population spread all over the country, whereas (proportionately) more of Finland is essentially empty.

That may be true but doesn't really factor in to the discussion of coverage and competition: even if essentially empty, Finland is still covered. Coverage maps for the two biggest operators:

* Sonera: http://www.sonera.fi/asiakastuki/verkkokartat/kuuluvuuskartt...

* Elisa: http://elisa.fi/kuuluvuus

Notice how 4G already covers almost half of Finland, and 3G basically everything excluding larger swaths of forest.

I am from Canada.

Our population density is 3.7/km2 and infrastructure owners are also required to let other in. The prices are still very high.

The coverage is big and winter put a big load on the infrastructure.

A full 24 hours worth of music (~33 complete albums) at 192 kbps is only 2GB.

Sure, but music isn't really the sticking point anymore.

Infinity Blade 3 is 1.7 GB. A single photo takes up more space than a song from an album. 40 minutes worth of 4k video maxes out the device (and that's optimistically assuming the apps that come with the phone don't take up any space).

For people like me who have no video, no games, and minimal music on their phones it's perfectly fine. I mostly just use a few messaging apps, instagram, snapchat, facebook, etc. The audience on HackerNews probably utilizes the space on their phones much more than the average consumer.

You think that the average consumer has no videos, games, or music on their phone? (And we forgetting photos and various other types of apps.)

You sound like when data plan providers say "Our average customer doesn't use that much data." Of course they don't. They try to stay within the ridiculous limits providers give them.

iOS 9 alone takes up a few GBs. The only reason the 16 GB option is the base option is because it anchors the price of iPhones. iPhones have an absurdly large profit margin, and price anchoring just provides the average consumer a psychological "out".

I think you're forgetting photos.

Pictures and movies are a huge factor for the average consumer. Every iphone owner in my family complains about lack of storage due to pictures taken.

> Sure, but music isn't really the sticking point anymore.

Music is definitely a sticking point for me, I've got 30GB of music on my phone, and the same again in applications and games.

I don't want just 24 hours of music, I want a comprehensive sample of my entire music library. In my case it exceeds the 16gb (or whatever it's available after iOS + other apps) easily.

The problem with me is that I want high quality music on my phone (and I listen to it with high quality headphones all the time). Like, nothing except 320 kbps MP3 files and occasional lossless files that randomly find its way to my library. I have an Android smartphone that only supports memory cards up to 32 GB in size. It's a pain. I can't even get 1500 songs properly (keep in mind that the music is not the only thing that I have on the SD card, there's also my book library and some photos).

Streaming them in that quality for two to three hours in per day on average would take a lot of data.

Then get an Android smartphone that supports 128 or 256GB SDCard, problem solved.

Storage is one of the reasons why I could never get used to using my phone as a music player.

I keep my 50GB+ music collection on a separate device (FiiO X3), which allows me to stick to the lowest storage tier for any phone I'm interested in, and not have to worry about expandable storage (which seems to be on the way out as a trend, unfortunately).

Also, I'm a rather heavy user and my phone tends to only barely last the entire workday and commute before running out (if it lasts at all). Having a separate device for music means I don't need to feel guilty about wasting phone battery when listening to music.

The downside is you end up having to carry 2 devices instead of one, which can honestly be annoying at times, but I'm willing to make that compromise. YMMV of course.

I have an S4, and am planning to upgrade to an S5 when the price drops from the S7 sales. The only reason I use Samsung phones is for removable batteries and expandable storage. I have a 128GB sd card in my phone with 60GB of music and 40GB of movies on it.

I could never fathom using a phone without reasonable storage capacity. 16GB was bad in 2000. In 2016, anything less than 256GB is a joke, and the joke is really no laughing matter anymore. It has not been for at least a half decade in the mobile space.

So buy the upgrade.

Me, I'm the type of guy to have 10gb of music, photos and apps, and offload a lot of stuff to my PC and stream increasingly more. I'm okay with 16.

Is 16 a bit silly? Sure, but it's an easy way to pad the margins a bit and there's just plenty of people for whom 16 is just fine, to the extent that the upgrade option is a decent solution.

e.g. my entire office is on iPhones and they use it for mail and some other stuff, 80% of their storage is unused, will be unused forever, and it makes sense not to pad that even more and increase the base price.

I wish the price bump was a bit smaller if you want to increase your 16gb, more in line with their cost price, but... I'm not at all opposed to the notion that a 16gb base model exists.

At least for all them youngins, we all use soundcloud of bandcamp for the most part. Depedent on data? Yes, but with that you get live updates of new songs or reposts from your favorite artists.

I know this is the case for many people but I'm not a big fan of streaming media to my phone. It's expensive, unnecessary (for my use case) and too unreliable to my liking. I sometimes do it but I just don't rely on it.

It might be a YMMV thing. For a lot of edm, soundcloud+bandcamp is more than enough. It's reliable enough for people with good bandwidth (I am lucky enough to be in that group), not to mention the collection is endless and well beyond anything I could fit on my phone...and it's fresher, as in when my favorite DJ/producer has a new song, I see it immediately, like it, comment to tell him/her directly, and so forth. This works well for EDM which doesn't quite follow the traditional "let's sit in a room and write 8 songs and release an album over a couple of months to years" production model. For EDM, where the rate of production is much quicker, streaming + the community makes a large part of the experience, so much so that without those social aspects, you're almost missing out.

Moreover, as many have noticed here, there are only so many minutes in a day, so the actually amount of data you'll download is limited anyway, and the fact that its SC gives you the variety, so I find myself missing very little.

However, for genres where the SC model doesn't work (or at least it isn't present), this doesn't help. When I want to listen to doom metal or psychedelic music, I'm left out and having to resort to what you do. And since I hate poor quality recordings and use flac when I can, my phone runs out of space quickly when I resort to carrying around a music collection.

I don't listen to albums anymore.

Google Play Music has spoiled me -- their station selection is vast. Albums don't even mean anything to me.

Plus I can upload all of my personal music collection to it and listen to it on the go, and it exceeds 2GB easily.

And that's about all the space you'll have with ios and default apps!

I have an iPhone 5s 16 GB with a bunch of apps and games installed, plus some albums at 256/320 kbit/s and it currently has 6.5GB free.

Add some photos and audio books, and it's basically full. 16 GB is too little for most use cases.

Depends on your use case. I use Dropbox for storing photos, since my network connection is generally good enough for it to be fast and seamless (I guess they send resized photos). I do keep music on my phone, but I don't need my > 500 album collection, just some new stuff that I change every couple of weeks.

Among computer illiterates in my family it also doesn't seem to be a problem. My mother has been using 16GB iPads and iPod Touches for years and never ran out of storage.

Sure, if you play lot's of > 1GB games (which seems to be typical these days), you don't want a 16GB model.

Not accurate. Not close to accurate. 16GB models have around 10-11GB free after the OS and all default apps are installed.

Variable mp3's, smaller and higher quality.

"Only 2GB", otherwise known as double your monthly data allowance?

Maybe it's time to upgrade your data plan if the current one isn't enough.

Mine doesn't have data allowance caps of any kind.

It's cheaper to get the $100 upgrade to 64G. Bigger data plans get expensive in a hurry here. Given that you're using a phone for at least a couple of years, paying an extra $40/month for the big data plan vs. $100 up front for enough storage not to need the upgrade just doesn't make sense.

Of course if Apple didn't have to skimp so badly on the base phone the upgrade wouldn't be necessary. Shame so many Android phones are also 16GB. My experience with using microSD cards for more storage is a bit less than spectacular as well with so many of the stupid cards dying suddenly and without warning.

Also apps using sd for storage is on an app by app basis. So say if Google turns that off for Play Music - as it seems they just did - well, now I have to cancel my subscription for that service and find something else to use my 64gb sd for. ffs.

I would imagine that you can still move your music to the SDCard, even if the app itself cannot be moved.

I don't know, since I do not use one, but at least for Spotify it is possible (as tested by my brother).

USD 399 for an unlocked new iPhone (with latest hardware!) in an of itself is a great, almost revolutionary price regardless of storage capacity. To the degree where I actually wonder whether it's going to have negative effects on their iPhone 6(s) sales.

I'm sure Apple has been running very sophisticated simulations on different model pricing, but 399 has so far been really the ballpark of Android phones.

Therefore I think what we're observing here is nothing less than the beginning of a new phase of iPhone strategy: They are starting to reach down from the top into the middle class segment whereas everybody else in the smartphone industry is trying to move up segments (so far with very limited success). Now Apple's brand is playing for them as they move down whereas everybody else's brand is playing against them as they want to move up.

I assumed it was 16gb because that obviously isn't enough and then they basically force you to spend another $100 for the next bump up in storage, which costs them essentially nothing. Most people will buy the more expensive version, but they can advertise the lower price.

Funny how they pushed iMessage as getting around an obvious cash grab by carriers and then push this obvious cash grab.

Wait. No, it's not funny. It's really frustrating in 2016. And pretty transparent.

"and then" implies a sequence of events that doesn't match reality. This has been the price structure for iOS devices for many years. In any case, I don't think Apple has moral qualms making cash grabs, being that they are so into profit.

My 80GB 5th gen video iPod (that's right, the clickwheel one) just gave up the ghost. Right now I'm limping on with an old 4GB iPhone 3 hand-me-down that I'm using as an iPod, since my Nexus 4 doesn't have the storage, nor battery capacity to be my music listening device.

At this point I've started to come to terms with the fact that for the next few years, my phone will not be able to be my primary portable music device because of storage.

On that note, are there any reasonable high-capacity alternatives for a portable music device that don't require streaming? I want a small form factor, large HDD with a headphone jack and a good battery and solid interface. I'd considered a new iPod Touch, but to get even 64GB is $300, which seems a bit much.

Curious what recommendations others have here.

sandisk makes mp3 players with microSD card slots for around 30$ [1]

and 64GB microsd cards are only ~30 bucks also [2], you can get 128GB microsd cards for under 50$ pretty easy

Putting you at 8GB+128GB for less than a hundred bucks.

Haven't done it myself, but have been thinking about it.




I was going to do this but I was worried that it wouldn't support SDXC and so would only get 32GB from a 128GB card.

I'm using a fii0 x1, which has a sd card slot for up to 128gb of storage, and it has decent battery life and a very nice UI. Also has a dac for great quality sound, and supports lots of file types including flac. Bit more pricy than some cheap mp3 players, but it's very durable and will last a long time I imagine.

Been using a FiiO X3 1st Gen here for quite a few years now, and it's still going strong. I got it before the X1 came out, and if I were to buy a new player I'd go with the X1 as well.

Most other smartphone makers propose a majority of models with an SD slot. Only Apple doesn't provide any means to add more storage for cheap.

And Google Nexus...

Wonder if iFixit pricing on the iPod fix would be worth it? I have that exact same model, still going strong for car music (my Sienna's BT implementation sucks bigtime).

I have a Moto G 3rd gen with a 64GB SD.

I've sold my iPod touch 5th gen 64GB as I wasn't using it anymore since moving to a smartphone + big sd.

Hey, I had one of those! When mine died I replaced it with a Sansa Clip+ with an 32GB SD card, and the Rockbox firmware.

>$399 USD is great

It's going to be $559 in Denmark. I had to check the prices on the other models, the cheapest 6S is $875. I never realized how expensive an iPhone is. Why anyone would buy an iPhone at those prices are beyond me. Sure, most will be buying via their carrier along with a subscription, but in most cases that will just make the phone more expensive.

Note that the price in Denmark includes VAT, whereas the price in the US is before any taxes.

Though which comparable device would you suggest at a similar price point?

The current exchange rate for $400 USD is $525 CAD. The price in Canada is $580/$710 CAD for 16GB/64GB (which is before taxes). The Nexus 5X 16GB is $440. The Nexus 6P 32GB is $650. The Nexus 6P 64GB is $700.

if one is smart, one can avoid paying taxes on large electronics purchases

It's always funny to me how people blame corporations for paying as little tax as possible, but do the exact same thing in their daily lives. If the law allows you to pay less tax on something, of course you are going to do it.

>Though which comparable device would you suggest at a similar price point?

I wouldn't know, I won't pay above $30 to $40 for a phone or above $10 per month for my cellular plan. While a phone/smartphone is insanely useful, I just don't think the price is justified.

People don't buy smartphones to use them as a phone. Think of that as a secondary function to a global internet device and the price makes a bit more sense if you value internet everywhere and want power/battery/screen size etc. If you don't, stick with a normal phone.

Generally speaking, an iPhone is maybe 25% more expensive than flagship Android phones in Europe. It's a difference, but neither is cheap.

All Apple products are significantly overpriced, how their consumers do not realize the are being taken advantage of is beyond me.

What does "taken advantage of" mean in this context? No one is forcing them to buy anything. If someone doesn't feel the price is justified, for anything, they shouldn't buy it.

Some people do not know better and that is where the 'taken advantage of' comes from. It is buyer beware, but to me it's a scummy business practice.

All Apple products hold their price very well. I just sold an iPhone 4S for 100€ yesterday - a five year old device.

It still runs the latest iOS, albeit a bit slower. Show me 5 year old Android device that can run the latest Android version WITH CARRIER SUPPORT, without any 3rd party hacks or rooting.

Depends on how much you prefer the experience of an iPhone versus an Android. There's a reason someone might choose an Audi versus a similarly equipped (engine wise) Volkwagen - it's a different experience, at a price, that some prefer.

Are they? Flagship models from the competition always cost about the same, especially on monthly plans.

I was speaking more to the entire apple product line. Laptops, PC's, phones. Apple users easily pay on average 1/3 more for comparable hardware. Their software used to be of higher quality, but that is no longer the case.

The only iPhone (actualy iOS device of any kind) I've ever bought that's not still in active use is my first, a 3G. My daughter still uses my 3GS to this day. The screen is cracked, but it's fully functional and she can even still download compatible apps from the App Store. Even ones that are no longer available for sale, but which I bought back in the day (I'm thinking of Lemonade Stand).

I've got excellent value for money from every iOS device I've ever had, with regular software updates years after they were bought.

It's Apple being petty (price segmentation), basically. How much does 16Gb cost today, $10?

Wal*Mart sells 16GB flash products for $4.99.

Company margins need to be padded somewhere?

Still it's not at the iPhone speed, 6S uses fast NVME flash. Definitely not 100$ but not comparable with an microSD card either.

So, apple should add an sd card slot?

That I think is a usability, logistiscs, and technical rabbit hole that Apple doesn't want to go down. (See Android and Windows Phone).

You get what you pay for.

A while ago I bought a Sandisk 64 GB USB flash at Costco on clearance for what I thought was a good price. I wanted to use it to back up a laptop on which I don't have too many files, so 64 GB was just right.

Big mistake! Huge!

I formatted the flash and started backup and it was pathetic. A MB per second write speed. If that. I gave up after a few hours.

I went back to my tiny Apricorn backup drive, which I love, and which uses a 1.8" hard drive internally. Zoom. Easily 10x faster than that Sandisk flash.

As I said, you get what you pay for.

Indeed, you have to look hard to find a flash drive with better than 2MB/s write speed: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3.0-thumb-drive-revi...

I see it as a rather significant error on their part. And to be honest, I am not quite sure why there has not been a massive revolt by app developers, content creators, and companies in general.

With the OS taking up a huge chunk of that 16GB and basic functionality like messaging taking up another 700MB-1.5GB, and not even counting photos and videos than can almost take up infinite amounts of storage; little is left for actual music, movies, apps, and other content.

Tinder alone is basically a 1.5 GB app. If you want to watch a movie and it's another 1 GB. If you want a decent sized music selection you are down another 5-10 GB. With every damn poorly coded app being around 100 MB you quickly run into situations where people with 16 GB are having to make choices and are dissuaded from purchasing Apple music and video content, let alone purchasing apps and playing games. Apple is essentially cutting into various app developer revenues by introducing artificial limits.

I, as a 16 GB iPhone user, would not be able to download or keep various apps on my phone that would be available for use if I had to trade off with taking pictures of my life. So app developers are losing out on revenue because Apple is putting these artificial limits on things for utterly retarded reasons. Please, someone provided me a single rational and irrefutable argument for there even being a 16 GB version, let alone a 32 GB one. Do you want people to buy Apple content or not, Apple. Do you want app developers to make money or not, Apple. I suspect apple is going to screw around again until their retarded greed leads to innovation that results in them having to buy some shitty company for 3.5 BILLION dollars again ... Beats. It's far less obvious how that would happen, but the effect they are causing is still there, pent up, who knows how it will burst free.

Stop being assholes, Apple, let people have enough space so they can actually use your ecosystem's products services without having to make hard trade-offs. You greedy bastards.

> If you want to watch a movie

On a 4in screen? Nope, I don't.

> If you want a decent sized music selection

I don't. I listen to music at home, from my desktop. I don't really have a use case for listening to it on the road.

> I, as a 16 GB iPhone user, would not be able to download or keep various apps on my phone that would be available for use if I had to trade off with taking pictures of my life

Sure. So don't buy a 16GB iPhone.

It's ok that there are phones that don't suit your needs, as long as there are also phones that do. Moving the base-level storage to 64GB has a cost, and assuming that Apple is determined to keep its industry-leading margins - and why wouldn't they? - then I don't want to pay that cost for 48GB of storage I don't need.

It's fine that the 16GB model is not for you. It really is. You don't have to call people bastards because they made a phone you don't want to buy.

You're right, but he's also right. 16GB base is a pretty poor experience in my experience. I'm constantly having to manage my apps and uninstall ones I don't need or use to free up space for a relatively small photo library (with most of it in iCloud Photos). It's a constant balancing act.

Then again, it's livable, and it's just annoying enough to make me want to upgrade to 64GB, so in that sense it's an ideal product segmentation for Apple, and in the end I don't mind paying what amounts to $50 more on contract for the 64GB version for the increase in utility it gains me.

Pretty brilliant when you think about it.

   Please, someone provided me a single rational and irrefutable argument for there even being a 16 GB version.
People buy them.

Sorry, but they would also buy the equally priced entry level phone that was 32 GB. Next argument, please.

No. That isn't the way it works.

They would also buy the same spec for half the price. Or an entry level for the same price with 128GB. More realistically : would it be better to have a more expensive entry level with 32GB? Maybe. Just because apple might be technically able to offer the product configuration you want them to for the price you want them to doesn't mean it is the right thing for them to do.

Here's the thing. You don't get to decide what is right, or what is better, for anyone except you.

Apple may be doing this mostly for product differentiation purposes; they may not. But whatever the rationale, it is working for them, well enough to pretty much define the category of premier smart phone. Arguing that this is somehow irrational comes across as either sour grapes or naive.

What you and everyone that is voting me down seem to overlook for some rather crazy reason (The only thing that makes any sense is protective defensive excuse making for Apple) is that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Sure, people buy the 16GB phone, usually thinking they are getting 16GB and thinking that is a lot without realizing that out of the box it's only 14GB and once they install some things and want to buy some music and take some pictures they are running out of room on double time.

Now they are stuck with a phone that is of an inadequate size in order to not only fully utilize it, but also it impacts developers and sales and companies that are constantly trying to push their incidental apps onto people.

I don't get your opposition to bigger storage when the increased storage would probably cost Apple literally next to nothing. Do you understan that the delta between the cost of 16 and 32 GB, let alone even 64 GB is basically negligible for them? It does not seem at all to be about cost, it's all about perceived price maximization, but I am rather certain their calculations either don't quite make sense or they are not properly considering and weighting their inputs.

I also don't understand why developers are not up in arms because Apple's foolishness keeps their app from being installed and used, which leads to decreased revenues. It really undercuts the whole ecosystem because people with 16 GB phones are not installing the hilton app, not installing the app for every airline, not installing health kit apps, not installing care kit apps, and not installing various other incidental apps that the ecosystem really requires you to have installed but take up way too much space to justify keeping installed on a regular basis.

I don't have any opposition to bigger storage, where did you get such a strange idea?

Clearly you are much smarter about this than Apple is. Their failure to understand the market as well as you have has undeniably lead to shrinking margins and market share, eventually to their exit from the premium phone market. It's a shame nobody buys their phones anymore.

More seriously - there are good criticisms that can be made of apples strategy, but they aren't the ones you are making. Your complaints show a naivety about how such markets work, and why.

In many markets, price is not a function of cost but a function of value (perceived or otherwise). In fact, this can be viewed as the defining characteristic of markets a company like Apple wants to be in, vs. those it doesn't want to be in. Competing in a commodity market is brutal.

That isn't to say that there aren't good arguments about why 32GB base would be better, but COGS delta isn't one of them, and focusing on it demonstrates a pretty fundamental lack of understanding of what market this phone is in.

Beyond all the aesthetics and usability issues, I believe its more of business and ideology standpoint. Let me explain:

Reality 1: If there were memory card slots, easily accessible to users, then they would immediately see it as a way to put data "into" the phone. Data, here is mostly going to be movies, music, apps, etc.

    Apple's Strategy: iTunes, and now iCloud. Period.

Reality 2: If users put data "into" the phone, then Apple would lose its money-making resource of "selling" data to the users, thus iOS would not be the most profitable ecosystem; "piracy" increases at atrocious rates; the industries (music, movies, apps, etc) will lose money; they could probably revolt against Apple for letting this happen, even when it did not intend to do so.

    Apple's Strategy: No memory-card slots. Period.

Reality 3: Apple has cleverly involuted its strategies in such a way that it makes people pay for content; making iOS the best ecosystems for developers all over the world; influence the industries in a positive way; make people realize that there is joy in spending; selling cool new devices with really usable, useful, and necessary features.

    Apple's Strategy: Make the best devices. Period.
Source: https://www.quora.com/Why-dont-iPhones-have-a-memory-card-sl...

> Tinder alone is basically a 1.5 GB app

What? I don't see it even being close to it

290Mb storage used on an Android system (14.25 in internal storage)

On my 16GB iPhone 5 Tinder is showing as 22.9MB, including data. Maybe I should have more dates?

> With the OS taking up a huge chunk of that 16GB […]

Funnily, I just noticed on the 6SE tech-specs site that Apple's "premium" Apps (Garage Band, iPhoto, etc.) come pre installed on the 64GB version. It's like them admitting that 16GB is just to damn small.

OTOH I bought a 64GB iPhone 4S when it came out (that thing just quit on me 2 weeks ago) and I'll never ever in my life want to sync that much music again. So for me, it'll probably be the larger option, but I'll fill it up with photos and videos of my cats.

As an aside how in the world is Tinder 1.5 gigs?

I think iOS has this application caching issue. Apps seem to always be caching data to the storage, but there is no option to erase, or remove it as needed.

it does it for you, if your phone starts getting full you'll notice apps randomly switch icon and name to Clearing or something like that quite a bit.

the issue that ive found when i was troubleshooting clients phones for "where is all my storage" is that the system does not automatically remove cached files like music/ spotify offline etc.

i never have seen the clearing text on my iPhone, although i figured it would be automatic.

Wow, I remember when you had to do this yourself on your Apple, with x = fre(0).

Can't tell if testing my gullibility or you actually believe your phone does this. :-/

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1385624?start=0 (Find Nathan C's answer)

If the math is still accurate and figure half your storage is music (7GB) we're talking 750-1750 songs. At 2.5 minute average runtime, 750 songs would be ~78 minutes of music per hour over 24 hours. So, you could skip 5 songs and still fill an entire day. And if you figure average 4 minute runtime like that poster did, that's 125 minutes of music per hour, or skipping 1/2 of the songs that come up.

A lot of folks aren't power users and don't need big storage on the phone. It's okay to offer them an option.

There's plenty of use cases for low-storage iPhones. Think enterprise customers, mobile point-of-sale devices, field researchers, reporters.

Because 16GB is enough for me. I don't need more space than that, so why should i pay for it?

The same reason why you pay $600 for 32 GB of RAM with Apple.

Technically, for 24 GB of RAM... since they keep the base 8GB that it came with, for your $600.

You can barely put a day's worth of music on your phone

You can get ≈16h of 128K VBR MP3 in a single gigabyte.

The real problem is video. Those guys are selling 4K devices that can barely hold a full event.

128k is pretty awful quality though.

It's not. You need great ears and even greater hardware to distinguish it from uncompressed in AB testing (on recent enough LAME encoder).

But if you must, go 192k/256k, which is pretty much guaranteed to be indistinguishable for almost all wetware/hardware combination in the world and would still get you about 12h in a gigabyte.

That's part of the reason I switched to Android. I spend $250, get a micro sd slot and pretty much all the features I want or would use. The camera is the only thing I miss from the iphone but it's not the end of the world as the camera in the Android isn't exactly terrible.

Coincidentally it's also why I went off contract. Much cheaper to buy phone outright and buy 3gb of pay as you go data a month than get locked into an absurd and useless contract.

That's how they raise their average selling price without raising the base price. For many use cases like kiosks and classrooms little storage is needed.

> why are we still stuck with 16 GB of storage on base model phones

Because upgrades are where they make most of their money.

I wonder how well this will work: wife has an iPhone 5C but hates it because it's an 8GB model. Facebook already takes up 500MB with its caches and she's constantly removing apps. Pictures also take up room - with Photo Stream on there are 4 copies of each pic on your phone...

Might I suggest removing Facebook the app and instead have a link to their mobile app? It might be worth a shot.

I tried to convince her to do that, but it's the app she uses most with various groups and such.

In addition to making a buck through market segmentation, there are probably challenges sourcing NAND flash that meets Apple's power/performance requirements in sufficient quantities.

Going for 16GB storage on my 5S might be what makes me upgrade...otherwise the phone still seems fast / good enough for most tasks after 2.5 years of ownership.

HOW!? Mine is fast becoming unbearably slow.

Maybe I'm using the wrong apps.

I bought a 5s recently (iPhone 3G -> iPhone 4 -> Nexus 4 -> Moto X 2013 -> Moto X 2014 before), because I had too many problems with Android. Mine feels incredibly snappy.

I just wish they'd have offered 128GB as an option.

I bet if people started booing during these live streams when they announce that BS they'd stop doing it real quick.

They'd also be uninvited from future Apple events. These aren't generally open to the public.

So that you can continue to pay for icloud.

I think the use case is older people (my parents..) that mainly use it as a phone and not much else. It wasteful though as it really kills future functionality and makes the phone get tossed earlier. (although they can be recycled I'm betting a lot aren't). Especially interesting given the keynotes emphasis on recycling/renewable resources.

on the plus side, they kept the headphone jack (no new headphones required).

someone I know at apple told me that they have trouble getting enough memory for the millions of phones that they sell.

iPhones would be amazing if it could be expanded with microSD!

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