Come September, A Larger iPhone

August 28th, 2014

A year has gone by, and two since Apple released the iPhone 5 form factor, which also houses the present generation iPhone 5S. And in between we have heard a lot of buzz about Apple working on a larger iPhone, with a brighter display, more pixels and so much more.

And yes, the rumours are in that we may be seeing larger iPhones very soon – perhaps two of them. One at 4.7in and another at 5.5in.

I’ve been an iPhone user for a while now, and my feelings regarding the upgrades we’ll be seeing soon, are always biased considering the values I have known Apple for. The iPhone 5 for me, was a late launch – an entire year late. I did not like the change in body shell materials – which was earlier glass on the back, to now aluminium. It makes the phone fragile, more prone to scratches and dents and doesn’t feel as good in the hands.

But the change in form factor from the earlier iPhone 4/4S to the then bigger iPhone 5/5S was welcome, since Apple maintained its stance on single-hand operation and precise dexterity while using the device. The thickness, weight and battery life on the iPhones coupled with optimal utilisation of pixels in the camera have kept the iPhone far ahead of competition.

In one of my earlier posts, I have compared my experience of using the iPhone 5S as well as the Google Nexus 5. On a recent vacation, I carried my Nikon DSLR, a Sony point-and-shoot, my Nexus and the iPhone. While taking photographs, it was either the DSLR or the iPhone that had me clicking. Ask me the reasons? Well, both the DSLR and the iPhone come on really fast. I like depth-of-field in my photographs, so always prefer large aperture photographs with the SLR, but the iPhone seriously takes the cake when it comes to snapping panoramas. And higher up in the mountains, its so quick to snap up with the iPhone in Panorama mode, or HDR. A recent update to the Nexus 5 camera software now offers panorama mode, but its nowhere near slick as how one can use the iPhone.

That said, the iPhone so far is really great for single-hand operation. I am not a person who likes to attend calls while driving, and car manufacturers in India have not even remotely begun to offer CarPlay in India. But there are times, when one just wants to discard an incoming call while driving, and the iPhone is just so convenient to pull out of the pocket with one hand when it starts to ring.

Some folks have been asking me about what to expect with the newer iPhones, and owing to the ease of comfort the past and present generation iPhones have offered with regard to single-hand operation, there seems to be quite a chunk of people who would want to go in for the smaller form factor. But then, questions arise, on whether Apple will provide the faster processors on the device? And offer all the touted features that are soon expected?

I haven’t met people who have upgraded from an iPhone 4/4S to an iPhone 5C. And that’s because the iPhone 5C was ridiculously below expectations with regard to material use and overall feeling in the hand. Many of the iPhone 5S users I know, completely overlooked TouchID on their devices, and frequently people have ranted about its accuracy as well, but most users are well aware that the iPhone 5C has shipped with an inferior processor, inferior materials at a price that hasn’t quite justified the savings against buying an iPhone 5S.

If you are going to ask me, what will be the phone to consider among the upcoming iPhone 6 and 6L (some rumours have pointed to this nomenclature), then I would say the decision would be based on what materials Apple is using to build the smaller phone, the processor power vis-a-vis the larger handset, features such as TouchID, Near-field-communication (NFC), Wireless Charging etc. which have already made their way into competition devices such as the Google Nexus 5 and of course, one-hand operation which is important for those who keep their phones tucked away in their pockets and like to make and answer their calls using a single hand.

Critics are suggesting that Apple has lost its touch of innovation with the upcoming models, and I also admit, that what we are seeing in the rumours for Apple are not ideas that stem from a great visionary or change driver in the market, but being an acceptor of change that has happened over the past decade and is being driven by multiple forces, with the aim of slicing away a piece from the demographic pie.

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