iPhone 11 & iPhone 11 Pro notes of interest: Apple Care+, 3D Touch, AR view & unlocked pre-orders
A compilation of smaller news items surfaced during and after today's "By innovation only" iPhone 11 launch event, including the ability to pre-order unlocked iPhones, the loss of 3D Touch, AppleCare+ details and an AR view of the iPhone 11 Pro.
First day SIM-free availability
The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max will both be available to buy in an unlocked state and SIM-free from the very first day of availability. Rather than forcing customers to buy an iPhone that includes a carrier's SIM card preinstalled in the smartphone, Apple is instead enabling the option to acquire a SIM-free model straight away.
Apple typically requires purchases of new iPhone models to be tied to a carrier from the very first day, before later offering a SIM-free variant for purchase. The 2019 models indicates Apple is taking a different approach with regard to its own device sales, by giving the option from the time of preorder.
There is one caveat, however. Devices purchased under the AT&T Next plan are tied to AT&T's network.
3D Touch is gone
While the updates introduced many new features to the iPhone lineup, one was removed from the list. Rumors about the disappearance of 3D Touch, a feature that brought up extra menus when pressing harder on a display, turned out to be true.
The new models all include Haptic Touch, 3D Touch's replacement that first surfaced on the iPhone XR, but rather than being triggered by pressure, it works by tracking a long definitive press on a virtual button, app, hyperlink or other asset. The feature is also quite limited in its current form, being used to trigger elements on the lock screen and the Control Center, and lacking the ability to differentiate between "peek" and "pop" gestures, but more functions are likely to appear with iOS 13's release.
View iPhone 11 in AR
Borrowing an idea last used to show off the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, Apple is making it possible to see the new iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro in a real-world environment using ARKit. Accessing the product pages via an iOS device using Safari brings up an option to view a 3D representation of the iPhone.
After clicking the link to "See iPhone 11 in AR," users are presented with the iPhone on a white background. A toggle at the top can switch between Object and AR mode, with the latter replacing the background with a live camera feed.
It is also possible to take a photograph of the AR scene, and to share the link from within the same interface.
AppleCare+ costs remain the same as for 2018 iPhones
Apple has published details of how much it will cost to put the new iPhone models onto AppleCare+, the company's enhanced support service. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max will cost $199 per device under the standard AppleCare+ offering, while the iPhone 11 requires a payment of $149 to receive the same protection.
The costs are comparable to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR, with the deductibles for each also the same, at $29 for screen damage and $99 for "any other accidental damage." Under AppleCare+ with Theft, the loss deductible for the iPhone 11 is $229, rising to $269 for the iPhone 11 pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.