The Woz calls for Gorilla-sized iPhones

For five years Apple’s iPhones have had the same 3.5-inch screen when competition moved up to bigger canvases, measuring all the way up to five inches and beyond. With this year’s iPhone, Apple increased the screen to four inches. The company even defends the move with ergonomics being the primary concern for making the screen taller but not wider. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak reflects on Apple’s stubborn insistence on one-size-fits-all approach and wishes the iPhone came in at least two sizes…

Steve Wozniak was in Johannesburg to speak at First National Bank’s leadership summit. In an interview with TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod transcribed by The Next Web, the Woz reveals what’s been ticking him off.

Here’s where it bothers me. I walk into my phone stores: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and I see all these modern smartphones. Big, big, big, big, and there’s the iPhone.

If you compare the screen size right there in front of you, whether it means much or not, it may be fewer pixels, less information on the screen, but you get a feeling you’re getting more with a larger screen.

I’m not sure if I’m with Woz here. I’m all for variety and choice, but have you seen flagship Android devices lately? They’re massive and I mean massive.

Kinda up to a point when I’d feel embarrassed operating a “phone” with a display measuring nearly five inches diagonally. But I agree with Wozniak that the tiny iPhone getting drowned in the sea of jumbo-sized Android handsets sends the wrong message.

Size does matter, but only to a certain extent.

Anyone can make a smartphone with a massive display for the Gorilla hands.

Making a phone call in public on a 5.3-inch phablet. Not a pretty sight, eh?

It takes someone of Apple’s caliber and technological prowess to cram up 4G LTE, a fast processor, a long-lasting battery and other technologies into as compact a package as the iPhone 5 is.

In fact, from the engineering standpoint a device like Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablet is much easier to engineer than the four-inch iPhone 5, simply because space is not at premium inside the Note due to its massive 5.3-inch display footprint.

What about the iPad?

That talk doesn’t apply to the iPad though. The iPad always had a great price for the size of the screen. Why would you want to buy the smaller screen devices? They looked a lot more like copies than any of the phones did.

I beg to differ.

If anything, brisk Nexus 7 sales prove there’s a demand for smaller tablets.

I love my iPad and use it every day, but I’m also using a Nexus 7 and wish there was a smaller, much lighter iPad available that could just slip into my pants pocket (or women’s purses).

Sure enough, Apple needs to be less arrogant here and admit that 9.7-inch is not the be-all-end-all form factor for the tablet.

So, what exactly is Wozniak yearning for?

Part of me wishes that Apple had not been so kind of arrogant and feeling we’re the only one with the right clue. I wish they had made a small and a large version of the iPhone; that would have been great for me. Keep the aspect ratio the same, horizontal and vertical the same, but just grow it in the other way.

According to our poll, nearly half the respondents think a four inch display should be the new gold standard for iPhones.

I think Apple tricked itself and said ‘oh you could reach everything with one thumb’ and I don’t see anybody having any trouble using the larger screens. Apple said that as a defensive move because when the other phones came out they all had larger screens.

He’s right about Apple making the case for the 3.5-inch form factor as a defensive move.

Apple is now saying that four inches diagonally is the optimal screen size for comfortable one-hand operation (and I approve the message).

It could be argued the other way around, that Apple gave the iPhone 5 a taller display because

Apple is now trying to run with that defence, saying ‘we are right’ and really there’s a mix of people. Not all people want the same thing and a lot of people really like the big screens.

I’m pretty sure Android vendors build Gorilla-sized phones not out of conviction or as a result of research but to differentiate themselves from the iPhone and isolate Apple as the only vendor stuck with small displays.

So if I’m reading Woz’s comments correctly, Apple should make an iPhone with a massively large display just because “a lot of people really like the big screens”?

Since when does Apple skate to where the puck is?

Then again, maybe norms are shifting (and this isn’t so bad)?