With larger iPhones, Apple accepts that smartphones have evolved

Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it finally happened -- after seemingly ages of rumors and speculation, Apple has unveiled larger iPhones (the 6 and 6 Plus) that are really, truly bigger than the 3.5-inch original. It's no doubt a welcome move if you're a fan who has been craving a big display, and it might even reel in people who have held off on an iPhone until now. However, this isn't just an instance of a company tweaking its product line to accommodate changing tastes. That happens all the time. For Apple, it's an acknowledgment that the very definition of a smartphone has changed over the years.

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007, the primary function of a smartphone was... well, the phone bit. Mobile data was too slow for many uses beyond email, while apps were both harder to find and more often for business than pleasure. You weren't about to share selfies or stream your favorite show, since neither the technology nor the software was there for it. It's not surprising, then, that Apple put a lot of its initial emphasis on basic (and usually one-handed) tasks, like calls and music.

You just have to watch the first iPhone launch event for proof. Jobs paid attention to web browsing, video and other tasks that benefit from a "really big" screen, but he was also proud of how well the iPhone fit in the hand and played Beatles albums. As far as the company was concerned, a 3.5-inch display was the sweet spot for everything, whether it was the mobile web or calling home. And it was, for a while; if you switched from a BlackBerry or Palm Treo, the iPhone's then-huge display felt like a minor revelation.

 

The original Apple iPhone from 2007

 

The smartphone market started changing soon after the iPhone arrived, however. Mobile apps took off thanks to easy-to-use stores (including Apple's own), making it simple to check your social networks and play games. Cameras got better, and cellular data got much faster. It was no longer far-fetched to share pictures with your friends or stream TV during your morning commute. Today, social sites like Facebook assume that you're usually posting from your phone. The smartphone was quickly becoming a pocket computer that just happened to take calls, and that perfectly palm-sized design wasn't as important as it used to be. A lot of phone makers helped fuel this trend through their endless attempts to one-up each other. Screen sizes grew to the point where a 5-inch display is now considered mid-range, and extra-large phones easily top six inches.

Only Apple's hardware design didn't seem to acknowledge this shift. While iOS was quick to support more sophisticated apps and media, the iPhone was purposefully limited to a 3.5-inch screen size for five years. As Jobs explained at a 2010 press event, he believed that people weren't going to buy "Hummer" phones that they couldn't grip using one hand. He had a point regarding the clunky designs at the time (a 5-inch Dell Streak feels gigantic compared to a Nexus 5), but this opinion was in stark contrast to an industry where larger phones were becoming commonplace.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.engadget.com/2014/09/10/apple-and-larger-iphones/

Print this post

Do you like this post?

Add your reaction to this article