Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Notes on iPhone 6 and 6Plus

Vidit Bhargava

I am sure most of us have gone through the "features" of the new phones. This post is meant to draw attention to some slight details of the new device:

1. The iPhone design and plastic bars.

Some time back in 2012 Apple announced what was perhaps their best designed iPod ever. The 5th Generation iPod Touch. That device's back was a clear indication as to where Apple wanted to go with it's new iPhones. The iPhone at that time had an aluminum back with two glass panels at the top and bottom of it. It was clearly visible that engineering constraints made apple do that. Limitations at the time stopped apple from bringing an all metal back to the market without destroying call reception.

Jump to 2014, and Apple's out with a completely new all metal design for its new iPhones. It's nothing short of an engineering marvel.. But some plastic bands still exist. Apple's design feels great, it's one of their best works yet but at the same time it feels like a compromise. There's a Slight room for improvement here. The camera protrusion can be ironed out, the plastic bands wiped out. 

The design is no doubt great and while this may be the closest we've got to a perfect Aluminum back for the iPhone, I guess the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 might have significant updates to the design which bring us much closer to the extinction of plastic bands from the iPhone.

2. Apple Pay

I'm not to sure about the NFC tap to pay machines that'll enable iPhones to pay via a single tap and authenticate via TouchID but I'm sure that the Apple Pay for online transactions is going to be big. 

Most online transactions generally require a one time passcode or login Ids to authenticate a payer's identity. Something like the Apple Pay can be highly successful here. You just need to authenticate via your finger print to purchase something, getting rid of the extremely inconvenient login passwords that one needed to enter before every transaction.

But The international availability of Apple Pay is going to be a big question here. For India it's just a matter of how quickly RBI approves finger print authentications as passwords for online payments.

3. A Case for the 5.5-inch iPhone

5.5-inches just feels too big to me ( and to lots of other people) but at the same time there are a good many customers looking forward to something this big. First, a 5.5-inch phone handles content creation lot better than how a 4.7-inch device would. And Secondly, the screen is far better for on the fly entertainment like watching movies. If those two things are your priority instead of something more pocketable, I guess the iPhone 6Plus is a no brainer then.

Another interesting point about the new iPhones was made on John Gruber's show sometime back, he says that it may look extremely awkward to hold something as big as an iPhone 6Plus to your ear but the way forward in phones hardly involves that gesture any more. In fact the screen matters more if you are using something like FaceTime or Skype. 

In the end I guess the phone screen sizes are going to become like Laptop sizes, there still exists an 11-inch MacBook Air and a 15-inch MacBook Pro but the sweet spot for a lot of people is the 13-inch Variant. I don't see why the phones won't follow a similar vein, with 4-inches being the smallest but going all the way up to 5.5-inches if someone likes. 

For me, the 4.7" on iPhone 6 is the maximum screen size that I can go to. I still think 3.5" or 4" are the optimum sizes for a phone. 

4. Camera

When it comes to Camera updates Apple goes on a nerd roll during its keynote. There's hardly a thing I understood about the new sensors but the gist of it was that the iPhone would get a lot better at Auto Focus and Low Light Images.

Final Thoughts

The iPhone 6 and 6Plus are solid upgrades to the iPhone lineup. I personally like the 4.7" iPhone 6 very much. I'm particularly excited about the camera improvements and Apple Pay in the new iPhones.

There's a strong echo of iterative design here, a reluctance to do too much in one iteration. This is something I strongly admire about apple's products. While every generation of their new product is just a small iteration but even if you look at something that's 2-3 generations old, you see how big a change the new one is.

1 comment:

pankaj said...
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