Apple’s recent gremlins streaming the iPhone 6 launch returned when they went on sale. The Apple store suffered badly and was unusable for hours after it was supposed to go live. I don’t know enough about these things to tell whether it’s just impossible to have a site stay up with millions of people hitting it or whether Apple is really failing here.
I went for the unlocked Space Gray 64GB model at £699. I think it’s pretty cynical of Apple to have 16/64/128GB models instead of having a base 32GB model. These are the sort of moves that reveal Apples true love – margin (remember how they’ll ask you for £25 to be able to plug an Ethernet cable into your £2,000 laptop).
However, as you can see from my photo below, there’s no shortage of takers! One of the guys in front of me in our (shorter) queue for those with reservations, came out after spending £1,400 on two Plus’!
…or are you just pleased to see me?
Have no doubts, the Plus is BIG. A phone this size certainly isn’t for everyone and friends and family’s reactions so far have ranged from giggles to mouths dropping open. And I can’t blame them, I was one of the people that laughed at phablets a few years ago too. I don’t think any of them would consider such a large device.
The iPhone design demands a ‘forehead’ above the screen to match the home button’s ‘chin’ below. Apple’s home button isn’t a feature mirrored on most Android phones so even the ones with screens this big aren’t generally as tall as this. But then they aren’t as slim as this either and the Plus fits in my jeans / trouser pockets with ease.
Holding the Plus one-handed isn’t an issue. The sharp edges all around the screen of previous generations are gone and the rounded body is the closest to my favourite shape, the original iPhone 1. The glass curves to meet the metal body and It feels like someone has taken a rolling-pin to that classic design and flattened out the pebble. Although the bottom edges has some sharp features, like the speaker holes and lightning port and my pinky finds these uncomfortable as it supports the phone when one handed. Trying to retrain my muscle memory to use the re-sited power button on the side is probably the hardest thing I’ve found about changing to the new design.
After a good start, Apple’s Touch ID got even better and now really does ‘just work’ 100% of the time for me and it’s even faster with iOS 8.
The protruding camera is particularly un-Apple-like and the little sapphire lens cover feels precarious. However the results from it are definitely a step ahead of the 5S. The Plus gains optical image stabilisation over the 6 too.
The Plus’ other big advantage is its bigger battery. It’s too early to tell exactly how much better it will be than my 5S but it’s 5:20pm as I type this and after admittedly light use throughout the day, the battery is still at 86%,
With 401 pixels per inch the Plus screen is stunning. 1920 x 1080 will sound familiar to you. It’s the same res as that 50″ full HD telly in your lounge, over 2 million pixels in the palm of your hand.
My eyesight isn’t what it used to be and the bigger screen is a revelation. Watching video with Plex or iPlayer for example is wonderful and I can even make out the expressions in those emoji my better half keeps messaging me. The 6+ features a rotating landscape home screen and dual panel layouts for built-in apps like Mail, Calendar and Settings, a la iPad. Apps that haven’t been updated for Auto Layout are zoomed to fit the new screen and the soft and blurry result does jars with the super-sharp text of optimised apps.
Take 3 Devices into the Shower?
I sold my iPad over a year ago, I wasn’t using it. I have no interest in having three devices so a bigger phone and my MacBook seem like the perfect combination. I’d say the best way to think of the plus is one part iPhone to two parts iPad. As others have said already it’s really an iPad ‘nano’. And that’s close to perfect, for me.
But what about that embarrassing moment when you have to bring your huge phone up to your face to take a call. Well that seems to be becoming a rarer occurrence as each year passes. A quick check shows I’ve had the phone to my ear for a total of just over 400 seconds in the last 3 days. Compare that to the hours of email, web and app use and you’ll see why my screen requirements have changed. If your use case is still more voice than data then this phone probably isn’t for you.
So will I still be rocking a 5.5″ phone this time next year or will something smaller do? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure, after just 3 days with the iPhone 6 Plus, my old 4.0″ iPhone 5S already feels like a tiny toy in my hand.