I am a designer and front-end developer. I spend my time fussing with pixels in Photoshop Sketch or pretending I know how to use vim. I live in the cheerful Bay Area and love coffee. ☕

September 26, 2014

Thoughts on the iPhone 6

I recently purchased an iPhone 6 (not the 6 Plus which I initially indicated I would purchase). I understand there is a general trend within the mobile phone industry to skew phone sizes larger, and initially I was an advocate for this change. I’ve recently, however, significantly changed my views on larger phone form factors.

The iPhone 6 is a nearly perfect phone. The design is beautiful. The build quality is impeccable. The camera is amazing. The screen is incredibly sharp with a simply awe-inspiring viewing angle. The size, however, is stopping me from being completely in love.

I think I have fairly normal sized male hands. However, it is nearly impossible for me to reach the “back” button in iOS while holding the phone one-handed. I can’t even imagine how this would feel on the 6 Plus. Granted, Apple provided a way to access the navigation bar items by adding a “reachability mode”, but this just smacks of a half-assed solution to a problem which should not have existed to begin with. Frankly, I never use the reachability mode anyway as it would then take three button tabs to execute a single action (double tap home to get into the mode, then hit back). This is perhaps an area where Androids native “back” button works in their favor — its right there by the thumb; no special mode required.

"Reachability mode" on the iPhone 6

I am a fairly frequent runner, as well as a gym-goer. I previously would bring my iPhone 5 with me daily on runs or gym sessions — the phone fit fairly comfortably into my gym shorts. Now, though, the 6 protrudes with odd angles from my pockets, becoming a fairly large nuisance while I exercise. Not great.

The larger form factor is not all bad, though. I love how much easier it is to type on the keyboard now. Previously, with the 5, I would mistype nearly every word and relied heavily on auto-correct. While I still suck at typing on mobile apparently, the mistakes are now much less pronounced. The larger size also is more conducive for reading, and I now find reading web content much more natural — on the 5 it was a strain.

The 5 form factor is something to be cherished. We’ll see if people gradually adopt and become familiar with the larger size. As it stands, the slightly smaller size of the 5 is something I truly miss.

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