My case for a bigger iPhone

The people who know about this say that when you are unable to write you should just talk about what’s in your head. With new iPhones arriving as soon as the second week of September, I keep thinking about the next new models from Apple although I have a million more important things to worry about right now.

Roughly 12 months ago I watched the keynote announcing iPhones with larger screen sizes. At that time I thought “I’ll wait one year and Apple will be forced to make a new 4-inch phone because nobody likes large phones”. The people who want big smartphones are Android users, right? The kind of people with a fake leather folio case taking pictures like they are holding a passport up in the air. Those obnoxiously big phones that vibrate when you touch the physical back button. Those whose users systematically play a free-to-play game from four years ago and think Temple Run is cool. So twelve months ago I was under the impression Apple was making a big model to capture these guys.

During this time, however, I’ve grown accustomed to the new sizes, gradually making my iPhone 5s look tiny, chubby and less cool altogether. This is proportional to my amusement when a Tube passenger unsheathes the 5.5 inches of glory next to me to check some Facebook or Instagram pictures. That Asian lady who needs to hold the 6 Plus with two hands is an early adopter and I’m clearly not. We are both used to the predictable refresh cycles in the iPhone family: that’s one year of restyling and one year of improvements. You can get a new iPhone that looks better than its predecessor or get a new iPhone that looks exactly like last years’ but with more advanced guts. This year it’s time for the S cycle, which means it’s my year to change phone. Without even knowing what will be announced in an couple of weeks, I have already chosen mine.

Struggling with storage

If there’s something surprising about this cloud computing era is that native and third-party services or apps do end up taking a lot of space. iCloud Photo Library, which is meant to allow you to access all your pictures without carrying them with you, takes up a lot of storage space. Free messaging apps are crammed with crap and are unable to manage chat history, pictures and video without using at least 300MB. To put it in perspective, that’s more than what Dropbox, which keeps recent files locally, requires to function.

Some of these concerns are addressed in iOS 9 with smaller footprint and app thinning, however, the message is clear. In the next two years we will need a lot of local storage even if our stuff is in the cloud. I thought exactly the same thing when I purchased my current iPhone and stupidly changed my mind at the Apple Store queue when someone in a blue shirt came around announcing that they only had 16GB Space Greys left. What was I thinking?

More local storage space would make a huge difference already. I would love to be able to download podcasts episodes in Overcast to check out some day instead of keeping only the three or four that I’m going to listen in the next 48 hours. The same goes for games as it can be frustrating to get that annoying error message asking for more space when you download a new app or just want to update to the latest version. I don’t want to do another great iPhone wipe again. Give me an iPhone with 128GB please!

Screen real state

My original prejudices towards Android users with big smartphones are still there but now I admit that I like the idea of a larger display. This is not so much about the way I use my iPhone but how I use it with other people. You will often find yourself in the situation where you show someone a picture, want to watch a quick video with the person next to you or are reading an important email together. In the days of the 4-inch smartphones you would have to pass your device to your friend, they would hold it and position it in a suitable position before telling you “that’s a really funny picture!”.

In the days of the 5.5-inch iPhones, this experience could be slightly different, I hope. If these larger phones are anything like an iPad, you won’t need to pass your phone around. Just prop the device or hold it firmly showing the screen for friends (or strangers!) to check out a picture, watch a video together or see how to get to that destination with maps. This is a wild guess based on my experience with iPhones and iPads. The latter is something you share with others. I’m aware the larger screen makes the device more difficult to handle and that’s fine. I’ve got big pockets. Please give me the 5.5-inch model.

Greater battery life

During a regular weekday my iPhone will get me through the day without having to change it at lunchtime. My usage is limited to listening to podcasts during my commute, checking emails and Twitter, web browsing and the occasional call. You will agree this is very light usage. The battery drainage becomes more noticeable the days I do something else. Meeting a friend after work? That involves additional texting, calling and possibly finding a good transport route to our meeting place. By adding a few of these on top of my regular usage could get my battery indicator on the 20% before dinner. That’s something to worry about when you are out and about.

Waiting for the revision of the iPhone 6 Plus, the current model that meets the three points mentioned, I cannot help to realise the tech specs look better on paper than the ‘normal-sized’ iPhone 6 version. I’m not a technical person and I can live in ignorance. Perhaps the processor load having to manage 128GB is higher than 16GB and this shows in responsiveness or heat. No idea really. I’m hoping the new models come with a lot of RAM because we all know that makes computers better.

Apparently, the new iPhone will also come in pink. It could come in green, blue or orange and I would still order a 128GB model with a large display and generous battery life. The rumours suggest Force Touch is going to be implemented too, but I’m not too fuzzy about a new killer feature. When you go through S cycles, you are already getting a bunch of new things — such as Apple Pay and a better camera — that justify the purchase.