Well Apple has gone and done what the world seems to have wanted it to do: make a big ‘ol iPhone — or two. But I’m sort of bummed. I highly doubt that I’m the only person on the planet who was not clamoring for a larger iPhone, though I’m sure that’s a minority viewpoint.
When the iPhone 5 came out two years ago — just in time for me to upgrade from my aging but beloved 3Gs — I was psyched. The iPhone 5, at four inches, was a tad bigger than the 3.5-inch 3Gs, and the whole package sounded great in theory. The larger screen fit in well with the camera improvements for shooting and viewing video. But once I got it in my hands, I found it unexpectedly hard to get used to.
An admission here: I have small hands, and maybe that’s part of it. The 3Gs fit so naturally in my diminutive paw, and was so comfy to use everywhere (think train ride, lying on the couch), because I was able to get a firm grip around its body with one hand. When I held the delicate little block up to my ear for one of my rare phone conversations, I didn’t look like I was holding some kind of slab up to my face.
Getting used to the iPhone 5 took awhile, but eventually I got to the point where I was able to easily handle that device with one hand. It never felt as natural. As it turned out, it was the iPhone 5’s improvements in image quality, screen resolution and camera that proved a lot more compelling than its expanded dimensions. Even after two years, it’s still an awkward fit in some of my shirt and pants pockets.
So now we have something even bigger — a different class of size, in fact. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus (it sounds like those “plus sizes” at the department store) more closely resembles a phablet, in itself an alien concept for Apple.
Today, and for the first time, I’m not especially looking forward to a new iPhone. I don’t discount the perfectly legitimate argument that the benefits of a larger, though thin handset may outweigh the extra size, such as improvements in battery life, display quality and just seeing more of everything, which will accompany the larger frames.
Plus, Apple has taken small hands into consideration by creating one-hand features in the phones’ software. Display Zoom enlarges the size of content onscreen while Reachability moves content from the top of the screen to the middle for easy reach. That’s in addition to some redesigned and relocated control buttons.
I can’t help thinking, though, if Apple went to the trouble of making two sizes — big and bigger — why not just add a third size to the selection — the one people already like?
Well, both the iPhone 5s and 5c are both still available for purchase, though that also means settling for internal specs that are at least a year old.
Will I wind up buying a new iPhone? It is almost certain that I will — eventually. After all, there’s plenty of kick ass tech to lust after in the new iPhones, apart from, or even because of, their larger sizes. When my old phone needs replacing, I can’t picture myself wanting to deal with the Android OS on a daily basis, and besides, some Android phones are even larger. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus I sometimes test Android apps with is comparable to what now will be the smallest new iPhone, at 4.65 inches.
When I do decide to upgrade my phone, it will obviously be for one of the larger iPhones — there is no other option. And who knows, maybe once I actually get my hands on one, it will completely blow me away. Funny how those things go.
However I wind up feeling, I’ll always love that Apple was able to pull off the original iPhone at its debut size, and had the temerity to stick with smaller phones for so long.