Strange as this might sound, but people do leave the iPhone for other phones, namely those running Google’s Android operating system. Peruse our forums and for the longest time, complaints have been about the smallish display of the iPhone. When Apple bumped the size from 3.5-inches to 4.0-inches, devices from HTC and Samsung were pushing out phones with 4.7-inch displays. The display size creep continued with behemoths like the Note, which effectively created a new Phablet category. If you wanted a phone with a larger display, there were no shortage of offerings from 4.3-inches and upward. Apple to date, has stuck with the 4.0-inch screen for the past two years. History shows us that even if Apple wanted to ‘go big’, last year was an ‘s’ year, meaning no major changes to the form factor. This has provided the other guys with ample time to woo disgruntled iPhone owners to the next big thing, be it from Samsung, HTC, LG or Motorola. That window of opportunity is starting to close, at least based on rumors of what we can expect from the iPhone 6. Two models, allowing customers a choice between an iPhone with either a 4.7-inch display or a 5.5-inch display. Whatever the excuses for not matching the competition, Apple plans to bring it big this fall, in what some are calling the biggest upgrade cycle in the history of the iPhone. Will the big display options coupled with iOS 8 be enough to bring back users who left the iPhone for Android?
Finally, iOS On The Big Screen
Browse the shelves of any major carrier and the Android phones sit there, with their fantastically big screens. They stand out, no different than how a 60-inch HDTV overshadows a 42-inch model on the shelves at Best Buy. They crave your attention and people have obliged. This trend of bigger screens isn’t going way and will likely get stronger when Apple reinvents the large smartphone.
If you left the iPhone because of screen size, Apple appears poised to offer two options this fall. The smaller of the two is likely to offer a 4.7-inch display, the same found on the Moto X and HTC One M7 (2013). For those looking for an iPhablet (someone please slap me for writing this), how does a 5.5-inch model sound? That’s the size of Samsung’s Galaxy Note II. They’ve since gone larger, releasing a 5.7-inch model. There is no flagship at 4.7-inches, with the Galaxy S4 measuring at 5.1-inches.
Apple’s going to provide you with a few options. What I would consider the sweet spot at 4.7-inches or the incredibly large 5.5-inch behemoth. Samsung seems intent on continuously bumping the size of their displays, but we’ve reached a point where the returns are diminishing. At some point, phones are too big, no matter what Samsung tells us. I believe that point has come and gone.
For whatever the reason we’ve been fed for years about the technology not being ready, it will this fall. If you left strictly for screen size, that advantage offered Samsung and others, ends.
iOS 8 vs Android
Android continues to improve, with more improvements expected to be unveiled tomorrow at Google I/O. It remains a platform that caters to those who enjoy tweaking the hell out of their phones. You can install apps without going to an App Store? You can install custom ROMs? You mean these widgets can be placed anywhere on my home screen? Themes, launchers, icons and keyboards – all customizable and readily available in the Google Play Store. Leaving the iPhone for Android can be incredibly liberating or for some, incredibly frustrating. Why are there two [messenger, photo, email, browser] apps? Adding to that confusion are the manufacturer UIs which can make two phones running the same OS feel entirely different.
If iOS 7 was about rebooting the aesthetic of the iPhone’s operating system, iOS 8 is about making it more open, even if that means borrowing from Android. Apple should feel no guilt, given the blatant theft which has occured over the past few years. To that end, get ready for a new sort of open iOS. You want a custom keyboard? Have at it. Widgets? Sure, developers will make’em and you can fill up the Notification Center with ESPN scoreboard and more. Wish that you could reply to a text message from the lock screen? Done. What about editing images in Photos using your favorite third party photography app. Filter away!
For those who left the iPhone because iOS has become to restricted, these changes should address some of the complaints. iOS is never going to hand over the keys to the operating system. There’s a simplicity that helps create the overall iOS experience, one that is buoyed by a superior selection of third party applications.
This fall is going to be awesome. On the software side of the equation, iOS 8 shows that Apple is not only listening, but making big changes. That big theme also extends to hardware, with not one but two bigger iPhones coming this fall. For the contingent of iPhone users who have resisted the urge to switch for a big display, your patience will be rewarded. If you jumped ship, Apple seems poised to address your concerns. Have they done enough to win you back?