Back in July, several months before the iPhone 5 was released, pictures of the phone started to leak.Based on these pictures, which showed a phone with a screen that was slightly taller than the iPhone 4 screen but no wider, I wrote a post entitled “If the iPhone 5 really looks like this, Apple may be screwed.“
My point was that consumers really seemed to like the new, big screens on phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and that screen size was going to be a major point of differentiation.
Well, when the iPhone 5 came out, it looked exactly like the one in the pictures–with a screen that was slightly taller than the old iPhone screen but no wider.
When launching this phone, Apple made a point to say that it had intentionally chosen to go with the (relatively) small screen because the Samsung screen was too big to fit comfortably in one hand.
Not surprisingly, millions of dutiful Apple fans immediately began repeating this mantra, telling anyone who would listen that any phone screen bigger than the iPhone screen was “too big to fit in your hand.”
And, depending on how big your hand is, that may actually be true.
Well, despite some misgivings about missing out on the larger screen size, I eventually decided to upgrade my iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 5. And the iPhone 5 is certainly a good phone. As I explained here, it’s noticeably faster than the 3GS. And when I pick up my 3GS again, I do notice that the iPhone 5 screen is a bit taller than the screen on the 3GS (otherwise, I don’t–the added height doesn’t really help.)
I must confess to having ongoing misgivings about having chosen a phone with a relatively small screen.
A couple of weeks ago, I was riding down an elevator when the person in front of me fired up a Galaxy, and I thought to myself, “wow.”
Last week, I watched a friend reviewing some videos he had taken of an event on a Galaxy, and I again thought to myself, “wow.”
And last weekend, as I spent an interminable 9 hours crammed into an airline seat, I watched the person next to me watch a concert on a Galaxy, and I thought to myself, “wow.”
And as much as I wanted to reassure myself that I had made the right choice, my eyes were telling me otherwise:
That bigger screen is awesome.
Apple’s stock has cratered 35% from its peak of five months ago. This fall is the result of a lot of factors, but the biggest one is this: After five years of having the best smartphone on the planet, Apple has arguably fallen behind the competition. And the biggest and most obvious reason Apple has fallen behind the competition is its stubborn insistence on sticking with a small iPhone screen.
Diehard Apple fans will no doubt dismiss me as a barbarian philistine–too much of a boor to appreciate the superior design and materials of the iPhone, too plebeian to realise that all phones other than Apple phones are just made of “cheap plastic crap” that is dumbing down civilisation and ruining the world.
And that’s fine. I expect no less of Apple fans.
But I do have a question for them:
Late at night, when you are alone and not surrounded by fellow Apple fans, and you see one of those huge gorgeous Galaxy screens, do you not–just for a moment–notice that your iPhone looks puny and sad in comparison? Do you not–just briefly–wish that you had not just parrotted the mantra that “smaller is better” and, instead, kept a more open mind” Do you not wish–just briefly–that Apple’s design god Jony Ive had woken up with the revelation that maybe, just maybe, bigger might be better?
If you do not have these thoughts, I salute you. Your loyalty and dedication is commendable.
Because I, an otherwise happy Apple customer, certainly do.
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