It is not as if we did not know before hand what Apple was going to announce on September 9th in Cupertino, it was not as if we did not know the exact camera protrusion on the back of the new iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus and it is not as if we did not know exact dimensions of the two models, but still it was fun watching Apple unveil its newest iPhone models that is supposedly going to herald in the "mother of all upgrades"! When the iPhone 4 and 4S were announced, they were received exceptionally well, just like the previous iPhone models, but soon other "also ran" smartphone companies at that time figured out an "innovative" way to expand their offerings by making their rounded rectangles bigger, wow... true innovation, huh. Anyway Apple, just as it was stressed at the beginning of the keynote on Tuesday, does not care being the first to do anything, but rather would prefer to be the best in doing it and have been known to succeed a few times, trying. So it took Apple a while to increase the screen size from 3.5" to 4" on the iPhone 5 and once I started using the bigger screen, I could not stand to look at my iPhone 4S. It was that dramatically improved. So why din't Apple release a bigger screen even with 3GS? The reason is the same as why Apple did not release the original iPhone in 2006 (waited for 2007) or the same reason why the original iPad was not released in 2009 (instead of being released in 2010), it just was not polished enough, of course according to Apple's standards.
Bigger Screen Smartphone - An invention?
Before I proceed, let me make one thing clear, even before the original iPhone was released in 2007, Apple had started working on the iPad and that means different sized tablets from 3" to all the way to more than 12". So just because Apple did not throw a bowl of spaghetti on the wall to see which one sticks, doesn't mean that other companies that did not even know what a smartphone looked like before the iPhone came in, invented bigger screen smartphones. The only credit these companies deserve is for doing the market research for Apple, that Apple did not want to do by itself, prior to releasing a bigger screen smartphone and nothing more than that. If I invent a car and you decide to coat it with a different paint than what I originally used, it doesn't take away the original invention credit from me and transfer it to you. So stop wasting others time by saying Apple copied other smartphone companies that came up with bigger smartphones. Give them credit where credit is due and no company deserves any credit for just making a bigger smartphone, Apple reinvented the modern Smartphone as we know it toady, PERIOD.
Saying No first and then Yes!
Now coming back to the point, Apple has been a clever marketing company for a while and Steve Jobs was a master in this. He would always downplay things that Apple did not (yet) do and then degrade the idea saying that it was either stupid or that the market was not yet ready for that. So famously when he said Apple will never make smaller iPads and went ahead and made one a few years later, doesn't mean that Apple retreated on its statement from before. It is just a marketing gimmick. So when Apple has been saying things like bigger screen smartphones are not yet ready for prime time till a few months back, it is part marketing and part defending their one model strategy for the world's best smartphone. There is some truth to the fact that they did not want one handed use to be compromised by making a bigger iPhone, though. Until iOS 7 there were no bezel swipe gestures like going forward and back on Safari, instead of hitting the back button on the top left of the iPhone's screen, which is the farthest point to reach when you are holding an iPhone with one hand. Also with iOS 8 and a special double tap on the home button to enable one handed operation on the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is clearly trying to address the trade offs between a bigger iPhone and one handed use. Apple could have easily done what Samsung did for their one handed mode and then I would not be writing about Apple and this blog would not have existed and world would have come to an end!
The ideal iPhone
Smartphones have come a long way in a very short time from screens of a couple of inches wide to more than five inches now. Ideally bigger the smartphone's screen the better it is, as all the interaction happens on the screen on any modern smartphone. So what is the best case scenario? A smartphone with a big screen, but small enough to slide into your pocket and compact enough to use with one hand. This means there is trade off and where you draw the line depends on the consumer (and his or her pocket size). I have an iPad Mini and use it mostly on the couch for reading and playing games, that I can't or don't prefer to do on my 4" iPhone. But the iPad Mini is not as useful as my MacBook. So the iPad literally falls in-between my iPhone and my MacBook Pro and if my iPhone can come a little closer to my iPad Mini in terms of functionality I could be able to get away with one of them and I would obviously choose the iPhone. This is where the iPhone 6 Plus comes in. So I would say that the iPad Mini should feel threatened by the 6 Plus. Many consumers prefer not to have three devices, a smartphone, a tablet and a computer (and now a watch???) and if this iPhone 6 Plus can solve that issue, well and good.
Continue to Part 2 for more...