A few weeks back I said I would be buying the iPhone 6, not the 6 Plus. The 6 Plus is simply too large for me. But I have since changed my mind.
There are a few reasons I changed my mind. First and foremost, I could not justify upgrading from the iPhone 5 to iPhone 6. It’s just a hardware upgrade, and I’m very happy with my iPhone 5. Sure, it would be nice having a device with TouchID but that’s not a must have feature for me. And a better camera would also be nice, but again it’s not totally necessary for me.
I actually started the process of ordering the iPhone 6 on two separate occasions this past week, and each time I stopped before completing the order. There simply weren’t any good reasons for me to upgrade my phone other than to keep the end date for my 2-year contract with Verizon in the month of October. But the same is not true for the iPhone 6 Plus.
Different Size Classes
The iPhone 6 Plus has features not available on the 6, features that, as a developer, I need to support in the apps I write. And while I can use the iOS Simulator to test those features, I’m a firm believer that testing on an actual device is far better. Testing on a device gives you a real sense for how your app feels on that device, and that’s why I own a number of iOS devices. The Simulator is great for quick debugging and testings, but nothing beats playing with your app on an actual device.
The iPhone 6 Plus supports different size classes than the iPhone 6 and earlier iPhones. This means, for example, in landscape mode the iPhone 6 Plus can take advantage of displaying a split view controller, which is something the iPhone 6 does not. And again, while I can test this using the Simulator I won’t get a true feel for the differences without using an actual device. But this alone wasn’t the only reason I changed my mind on which device I should buy.
The Pocket Test
Over the weekend, while attending Çingleton, I did a number of pocket tests using various iPhone 6 Plus devices. Some had cases, others did not. What I found was that while I notice the iPhone 6 Plus in my pocket, it wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. Does it feel as nice in my pocket as the iPhone 5 or even the 4s? Certainly not. And there will still be times when I’m annoyed at the size of the 6 Plus when carrying it in my pocket, such as when I’m snowboarding. In fact, I’ll likely have to carry the 6 Plus in my jacket pocket when snowboarding instead of my front pants pocket. And I’m not thrilled about carrying the larger device in a cargo pocket when I’m hiking as it will be banging against my leg as I walk.
But as I thought about it more I realized that I don’t keep my iPhone 5 in my pocket all that much. I work from home and the majority of the time my iPhone is sitting on my desk. I do put it in my pocket when I leave the house, but typically I’m at home more than not.
Still, after a weekend of various pocket tests I wasn’t completely sold on the iPhone 6 Plus. I certainly was leaning towards buying it, but I was still on the fence. That was until I learned about the zoom view.
With the zoom view an iPhone 6 Plus behaves like an iPhone 6. For instance, when the zoom view is enabled the home screen does not rotate when the iPhone 6 Plus is in landscape mode. In fact, it appears that the size classes used on the iPhone 6 Plus are the same as the iPhone 6 when using zoom mode. This means that the iPhone 6 Plus can be used to test the behavior of your app as if it were running on an iPhone 6. And that sealed the deal for me.
Using the iPhone 6 Plus to test my apps is like having two devices in one. I can test my apps to make sure the user experience is perfect for iPhone 6 Plus users and, thanks to the zoom view, iPhone 6 users. At this point the decision to buy an iPhone 6 Plus became a no brainer for me.
Not a Developer
Would I buy an iPhone 6 Plus if I weren’t a developer? Nope, I would not. In fact I would not buy the iPhone 6 either, at least not right now. My iPhone 5 suits me well, and I would have no good reason to upgrade if I weren’t a developer.
What I Really Want
What I really want isn’t the iPhone 6 Plus, but what I want does not exists, at least not yet.
As a developer what I really want is an iPod touch Plus. If Apple were selling an iPod touch Plus that is the same as the iPhone 6 Plus minus the phone, then I would buy it in an instant. That way I could continue using my iPhone 5 as my primary phone device and the iPod touch Plus as a test device. And my son would be happy too because in his mind the iPod touch Plus would be his even though I would use it for testing purposes. But sadly there is no such thing as an iPod touch Plus right now.
Change My Mind Again
So there you have it…the reasons I changed my mind.
- Different size classes and UI behaviors.
- Not as uncomfortable in my pocket as I thought it would be.
- Able to test iPhone 6 and 6 Plus user experience from the same device.
- No iPod touch Plus.
There’s actually one more reason that led to me changing my mind, Apple’s return policy. If after the first week of owning an iPhone 6 Plus I find that carrying it around in my pocket too annoying then I can return the device. I doubt I will return it especially after talking with many iPhone 6 Plus owners at Çingleton this past weekend, but still, there is always a chance I will change my mind again.