I’ve never been an iPhone fan. When they first came out I was still using an LG flip phone and I was anti-Apple. When I finally got a smart phone it was an Android device (a Samsung Galaxy SII to be exact). It just so happens that my first smart phone was a fantastic phone. The 4.3″ screen was ideal; it’s 480 x 800 resolution was better than anything I’d ever had; and it was a nice looking and sturdy phone. Honestly, I like its actual body better than my Galaxy S5.
The iPhone on the other hand was small. Too small. Plus the one button never appealed to me. It was such a strange experience trying to navigate an iPhone that I never thought I’d get one. For the record, I’m still not sure that I will. However, Apple is catching up to its competitors in releasing two big phones. Today I had the opportunity to play with both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 plus at both an Apple Store and Sam’s Club.
Now just to backtrack, Apple recently released iOS 8, which I’ve updated to on my iPad air. It’s okay so far as it goes, but it doesn’t seem much different than iOS 7 save predictive text when typing and a recent contacts icon list when you double tap the home button. There’s more going on but the changes are subtle. I’m expecting the upgrades to be felt when OS X Yosemite releases next month.
But back to the iPhone 6. I had to go to the Apple Store today to pick up an extra charger for my MacBook Pro. I travel with it quite a bit and it’s a real hassle to get up under my desk and unplug everything every time I need to leave the house with it. So now I have one to keep in my bag and I can leave the main charger plugged into the wall. Anyway…
While I was waiting for my receipt I was playing with both new iPhones. The first impression was that the iPhone 6 Plus was way too big. It’s similar to a Galaxy Note III, which I hate. Forget how ridiculous it looks having such a large phone next to your face when you’re talking and just consider that most folks with normal sized hands or smaller will most definitely have to use two hands to do most things on this phone. It’s impractical (just as it is with the Galaxy Note series and especially the Galaxy Mega!).
The iPhone 6 is a good size though. A 4.7″ screen is just about perfect. My S5 has a 5.1″ screen, which is a hair too big for me. It works but I’d prefer something a bit smaller. The phone is incredibly thin though and it’s really light. It makes the device feel cheap. I thought much the same when I got the S5. Very thin, light, and cheap feeling. My Spigen Tough Armor case completely changed the experience for me, and for those interested, they have a nearly identical case for the iPhone 6.
But aside from the physical issues with the phone (btw, a lot of people complained about the antenna lines on the back of the phone; I actually like how they look on the space grey model), iOS 8 just feels behind the times for a smart phone. Don’t get me wrong; I think iOS 8 is great for the iPad. But an iPad doesn’t do all the things we expect our phones to do. The operating system seems limited although I’m sure enthusiasts would attribute my opinion to my inexperience with iOS.
iPhone enthusiasts like to say that iOS is superior to Android, but I can’t see how. No widgets; no multitasking; not an especially attractive UI; I just can’t see in what ways it’s better. And when I went through some of the apps they seemed stunted. I’m sure Apple will work the kinks out in the coming months but right now it feels clunky, which is odd seeing how the same things seem okay on the iPad.
In addition, the technology seems dated. Forget for a moment that the iPhone 6 doesn’t sport a 1080p display (that’s almost forgivable, but seriously, why doesn’t it?); it’s the actual functionality seems to be behind even what my SII could do. If one hasn’t ever used anything other than iOS then I’ll bet it feels downright futuristic, but to come from Android to iOS 8 seems like a step in the wrong direction. Apple is playing catchup. They traded on their name and on nice hardware for a long time but now that the time has come to give the consumer what they want; they’re trailing.
The only thing that still has me considering an iPhone 6 is how iOS 8 will work with Yosemite once it’s released. I’ll test it out with the iPad before I make any rash decisions. But if all I had to go on was my experience with the phones today then there’s almost no chance I’d make the switch.