The iPhone 6 Plus is a terrible phone and I don’t care

Like many people, I bought the iPhone 6 Plus without having a good idea of quite how big it would be.  When it arrived and I held it aloft for the first time, I immediately felt the difference compared with my previous iPhone 5.  When it came time to make a phone call on it, I felt like a ham-fisted idiot.  It’s far too big to be a good phone.  But I don’t care – the iPhone 6 Plus is still one of my favourite devices.

Let me be clear on why the iPhone 6 Plus is a bad phone.

  1. When holding it to your face, you’re always aware of how much effort your hand has to put into not letting it slip about.
  2. When holding it to your face, you’re always aware of the slab or metal and glass pressed against your flesh.
  3. When holding it to your face, you know you look like a bit of a dick.
  4. I also find it weirdly difficult to align the earpiece with my ear properly.  I seem to lose audio with the slightest shift of the device.  And believe me, it will be shifting around a lot as you struggle to hold it in place.

Ten years ago, you would have laughed at the very idea of trying to use a phone this big.  Even five years ago, the utility of such a big phone was dubious.  But now?  It’s still too big to be a phone, but I don’t care one bit.

The proportion of time I spend using my smartphone as an actual phone hovers somewhere around 0.1%

Why am I giving it a free pass on its conspicuous enormity?  Because the iPhone 6 Plus’s value as a phone barely registers in my assessment of its value as a device.

If I had to gauge the proportion of time I spend using my smartphone as, you know, an actual phone, it would probably hover somewhere around 0.1%.  The other ~99.9%, I spend emailing, browsing, checking in on social media, taking and editing photos, watching videos, playing games, and reading news, long-form articles or ebooks.

The things that I predominately do with my smartphone benefit greatly from having a bigger screen to do them with.  And they suit themselves well to a two-handed hold or to a relaxed one-handed grip on the device.

The voice call is merely one app competing for my attention against much more compelling alternatives

So why should I let my preferences be determined by the quality of 0.1% of my total experience?  It would be like writing off a smartphone because the torch (flashlight) app is sub-par.

Frankly, at this point Apple could remove the phone app from the default app line-up, and I probably wouldn’t notice for at least a week.  The iPhone, like most modern smartphones, has evolved into a general purpose content and communications device, where the voice call is merely one app competing for my attention against much more compelling alternatives.

Smartphone designs should not be constrained by a century-old communications paradigm

I’ve decided that the only size limit that I ought to give any regard is that my smartdevice must fit in most of my trouser pockets.  How its size affects its utility as a conduit for traditional voice calls is about as relevant as which kind of screws hold the thing together.

It’s time for the products formerly known as “smartphones” to embrace a future where their designs are not constrained by a century-old communications paradigm.

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