I made a huge, last minute decision at the crack of 2am Sept 12 -- I decided to shrug off years of antipathy toward larger-screened phones and pre-ordered the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple's behemoth 5.5" revision to the previous generations' agile 4" designs. I figured:
- My hands are big
- A bigger screen is almost always going to be better for viewing and reading and scrolling (most of what I do on these things)
- Reminded myself that a micro-screen Apple wearable was coming early next year.
I've had several years of using a 3.5-4" screen Apple device, pulling it out of my pocket, pouring over its contents, putting it back in my pocket, laying it on a desk, tapping, swiping, putting it to sleep. After half a decade, you crave something new. And the fantasy of using a daily device the size of the iPhone 6 Plus struck me as I managed to break through the Apple server congestion via the Apple Store app and was able to select my iPhone of choice mere minutes past my alarm's horrible awakening.
And contrary to what half the Internet thinks, the device is amazing. Hard to hold in your puny hands? What did you expect? The thing measures 6.22" by 3.06" -- yes, that's probably the largest thing you're going to carry in your pocket, and yes, if you don't have the genetics to casually grip it in one hand, it's going to be uncomfortable. But you knew this going into it. So why the surprise? Why all the whining? I read this asinine anecdote about trying to take back the iPhone 6 Plus and just wonder at the banality of our first-world problems.
The size complaint seems to be the most flagrant accusation against the iPhone 6 Plus -- but is its size really that big of a deal? What do the majority of people use a device like that for, anyway? Reading? Checking updates? Communicating? The iPhone 6 Plus makes all these activities more enjoyable because there is much more room and flexibility on-screen than ever before. Do you use a Kindle or iPad Mini? Yes, also large devices that need to be held in one (or two hands), that typically are whipped out on a train or bus or couch, and that clearly have been bought by you to make reading or watching a video more enjoyable with a larger size screen. The iPhone 6 Plus? Same thing. Sure, it should probably fit into your pocket for convenience (and that sweet pedometer movement tracking), but why would you complain about the size of its screen?
Only now, after having switched to the larger screen, can I appreciate the beneficial movement towards this kind of device-size future. The iPhone 4s, which I have as a work phone, is ludicrously small in comparison. And I don't think I could go back to using it with as much enjoyment or efficiency after having made the transition to 5.5" -- and that statement is made after having used the iPhone 6 Plus for a mere six days.
Sure, the iPhone 6 Plus isn't without its pitfalls:
- Whether it actually is due to the screen size or not, I find myself having to readjust the screen to its upright UI by tilting the device when extracting it from my pocket more than I ever have before (I usually put the phone in my pocket "upside down" with the camera side pointing down and the glass against my leg; perhaps it's an iOS 8 glitch or just reorientation lag, but this is a bit annoying)
- Reachability (light-tapping the home screen twice to bring the top of the UI to the midway point on the screen) has failed to work a few times, though a restart fixes this; again, likely an iOS 8 glitch. Apparently the now available iOS 8 update fixes this
- One-handed operation isn't as easy as it has been in the past, but it may eventually be a matter of adjusting to new holding habits. Again, I knew this coming into it. And I do most of my typing with two thumbs anyway, so most one-handed arguments are mute in my case
That's about it for complaints. If the aforementioned items are merely glitches, there isn't much to find annoying with this device size. I would assume the transition to the smaller iPhone 6 (4.7" display) will be easier for most people, but small hands will always struggle with one-handed operation. Until we see the long roadmap of new iPhone models slowly reveal itself over the coming years, we won't know if Apple decides to stick with these size options, but if the sales figures from this past week are any indication, they likely will continue with these lines for a while. All we can do now is adjust our daily rhythms, enjoy the extra real estate, and look forward to the super small Apple Watch approaching next year.