The Macalope: The Goldilocks phone


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Now that we’ve all come to the conclusion that Apple is definitely going to make a larger phone (come on, people, it was on all the rumor sites), the question now becomes exactly how a larger phone will doom Apple.


Over at Forbes, Anthony Wing Kosner asks:

“Will Apple’s iPhone 6 Phablet Push The Usability Of iOS To A Breaking Point?” (no link but tip o’ the antlers to Shawn King).

It seems abundantly clear that Apple has been bitten by the serpent that Steve Jobs disdained.


I refer, of course, to the “phablet” …

Oh. Did Jobs really have a thing against larger phones? He made noises about not liking smaller tablets, but he also said television was for “turning off your brain” and then spent his last days conceptualizing something to do with television.

More importantly, he also said “Don’t worry about what I would have done.” It’s kind of funny that the ones who didn’t understand what he did while he was alive are the ones who are most worried about what he would have done now that he’s dead.

The iPhone is going large and it is just a matter of how large.

Spoiler alert: No matter how large it is, it won’t be large enough to save Apple.

… we have to approach this current iPhone cycle armed with the knowledge of the increasing porousness of Fortress Cupertino.

It’s not Cupertino that’s porous, it’s the Chinese supply chain.

So when The Wall Street Journal comes out and says that “Apple plans an iPhone model with a screen larger than 4½ inches measured diagonally, and a second version with a display bigger than 5 inches,” we treat it as more than idle gossip.

Because dope springs eternal.

And some of us do more than just write about what Apple will do next.


[Italian designer Federico] Ciccarese has created a pair of iPhone 6 design concepts …


… based on the WSJ information that allow us to visualize not only what these new devices might look like, but how Apple’s mobile operating system will fare in this super-sized environment.

And, based on these design concepts—which will probably look nothing at all like what Apple ships—let me make some wild assumptions.

… what Apple’s “sandboxed” approach doesn’t do for users is give them the freedom, one level up, to download an app that lets them control the representation of those icons on their screen or any other more sophisticated way of managing applications. This is why so many users jailbreak their iPhones.

How many? Heck if Kosner knows. It is enough to say “so many.” So, very many.

How many?

Shhh. So many.

But …


Imagine that for you, the novelty of having this candy crush of apps on your phone has worn off and instead you want a more pared down approach. You could, of course, just have fewer little icons on your screen. But what if you want just four big, honking buttons for the only four things you use your iPhone for anyway?

This is apparently a huge enough problem that Kosner believes it will ruin a larger iPhone. “So many” people are jailbreaking their iPhones so they can have two big, honking buttons. One for Flappy Bird and one for SHUT DOWN IPHONE.

Even if you are a developer and want to build it yourself, you could only deploy it on jailbroken iPhones.

This is the same with all iOS devices. You’re just complaining about developers not being able to junk up the interface, the same argument we’ve heard about iOS since the dawn of iOS. And, yet, iOS does quite well. Not in spite of this, but because of it.

Phablets, it seems, are where consumers are going, particularly as our initial enthusiasm with the iPad begins to cool.

Large phones, at last count, made up about 20 percent of smartphone sales, with about 40 percent of them having been sold in South Korea. So, it’s a little hard to prove that’s where “consumers are going.”

Anyway, let’s see if the horny one has this right: iOS works fine on smaller phones, fine on 10-inch tablets, and fine on 7-inch tablets—but a 5-inch phone is going to be the breaking point, because some mockups look a little goofy.

Well, no one said punditry had to make sense. No one on the Forbes editorial staff, anyway.

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