iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: six months on, choice is king

iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus side by side

We all knew it was coming following months of uncharacteristic leaks, but the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus double announcement of September 9th 2014 saw the biggest thing to happen to the iPhone since the handset was first brought to market. Apple launched two handsets, both with differing screen sizes but more importantly, both of those screen sizes were bigger than the iPhone 5s they were replacing.

After years of mocking users of Android phones that seemed to know no limits when it came to packing ever larger, ever more pocket-busting screens into smartphones it was time for Apple fans to embrace the idea of a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch device in their midst.

Whether people liked it or not, the 4-inch iPhone was gone. At least, beyond the lower-end iPhone 5c that was almost apologetically left in the iOS lineup.

We recently saw the six-month anniversary of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus‘s release – they went on sale on September 19th – and as the time has passed it is clear that many opinions have changed. Before the two new iPhones were announced everyone thought they were too big. Then, once they saw them, the iPhone 6 was the Goldilocks phone – just right – but that iPhone 6 Plus? Way too big.

Fast forward to today. As we stand right now, in late-March and six months after the two newest iPhones on the block were released to an eager public, it’s that iPhone 6 Plus which is getting attention. Having listened to podcasts and read written pieces over the last few weeks I’ve come across more than a few people who bought the smaller iPhone 6 at launch but are now seriously considering going bigger come upgrade time. It’s easy to see why, too.

If you’ve never had any time with an iPhone 6 Plus then it’s difficult to understand quite how lovely it is to look at. With a 5.5-inch screen and plenty of pixels to go around, the phone certainly looks the part. It’s just big enough to be on the cusp of replacing the iPad mini for some too, which is a positive if you’d rather save the cash or even better, use it to buy a larger iPad Air 2 instead. Whatever you do, I’d wager that anyone with an iPhone 6 Plus would find their usage of any small-screened iPad very limited indeed.

And then there’s the battery life. It lasts forever, or close to it. Going a couple of days without a charge is the kind of thing we haven’t been able to do since, well, ever. At least, not with an iPhone. The larger screen of the iPhone 6 Plus means Apple can pack more battery behind it which in turn means more time between charges. If you spend a lot of time away from a Lightning cable then that’s a big, big thing.

None of this is to say that the iPhone 6 is a bad bet though, because it’s not. I have the hands of a four year-old, and even though I’d love the screen estate offered by a 5.5-inch smartphone it’s barely practical for me. The iPhone 6 isn’t small by any stretch of the imagination, but I can just about hold it without having a heart attack every time its weight shifts.

And there, in a nutshell, is why the two-pronged approach of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus works for both Apple and its customers. Choice works for everyone, and it means nobody needs to shoehorn either of the two phones into a use case that it doesn’t quite fit. Six months on from when Tim Cook and his team announced the latest iPhones to hit the market both are still hugely popular. The mix between the two may be shifting slightly, but both very much have a place in the marketplace. There are rumors circulating that Apple is going to launch a new 4-inch iPhone alongside two updated models this year too, further cementing the notion that choice is now part of Apple’s make up.

Who could imagine Apple having three differently sized iPhones on sale a few years ago?

Not me.