iPhone 6 Plus Is Too Big For Me, But I Bought It Anyways

Posted by Kirby Turner on October 13, 2014

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.

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.

  1. Different size classes and UI behaviors.
  2. Not as uncomfortable in my pocket as I thought it would be.
  3. Able to test iPhone 6 and 6 Plus user experience from the same device.
  4. 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.

Posted in programming. Tagged in conference, ios, tech.

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