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Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Very Initial Observations - User Design Mistake?

09/19/2014 12:00 a - Fri

It was interesting to see the new iPhone 6's.  The phones were every bit of thin as their web page spec's promised.  They looked pretty good.

But, as usual, I had a few observations...

Waiting in Line?

I can't tell you how many unhappy faces I saw outside the Apple store in the Glendale Galleria.  At the head of the line was a sign that said "Reservations".  (?) 

There were a ton of people in line.  I guess my biggest question is simple.  Why?

I mean...  The last few Apple devices that I've purchased have been purchased online.  Each time, on the first day the device was on sale in the stores, my nice Fed Ex person very pleasantly delivered the plain brown box without any fanfare or waiting in line.

In the privacy of my own home, I could sit on my couch (or bed) and very casually open the box.  No problem.

So why are people still waiting in line?

Why I Didn't Preorder an iPhone 6

I didn't "pre-order" an iPhone 6 for a few reasons.  First...  Unlike previous models, this model came in two sizes.  A larger model (than my iPhone 5) and an even larger model.

I have always felt that the iPhone 5's screen was getting close but probably needed a little more.  So getting a phone with a larger screen was, with out a doubt, the right direction.  However...  Based on some of my friends who own some of the Samsung "phablets", I knew that there was a threshold that, if exceeded, meant that I wouldn't have a phone I could use all of the time.

Why?  I have three boys and we frequently go to theme parks (like Magic Mountain).  I've noticed on occation that wearing the wrong pair of pants or shorts meant that my iPhone 5 felt a little heavy in my pocket.  If I sat down incorrectly, I could definitely feel the phone--and--under some situations--feel it close to flexing.

So having a phone that I couldn't take everywhere, was a concern.

But rather than just dismiss the iPhone 6 Plus, I felt that I needed to touch it before making any firm decision.

So I didn't pre-buy a phone.

User Interface Mistake?

Apple always seems to pride itself on good user interface.  (Did you ever see any of those videos with some Apple talking head with a pure white background?)  For this phone, I think they made an excellent design decision to put the sleep/on/off button on the side of the phone.

However...  Once you press this button, you still have to slide your finger along the bottom to unlock the screen!

My hands are probably about average.  Doing this isn't very comfortable.

Instead, the "slide to unlock" should be moved up to where my thumb would normally be located.

Was this a design mistake?

Why can't there be multiple "slide to unlock" actions on the screen?  (Or...  Just one...  But wherever you first touch, the whole "slide to unlock" should automatically move to that position...)

I can only hope there is a way to change this in the settings menu!

Gory Details - How I carry my Phone

I am right handed and I usually put my phone in my right pocket in a way that the screen is against my body.  If a tennis ball is thrown at my leg and I miss, I want it to hit the case of the phone and not the touch screen.

In addition, I normally put my phone in my pocket upside down.  For an iPhone 5, that means the sleep/on/off button is pointing downwards and the speaker and earphone plug is facing up.  (I find that I can hear my phone better in this position also.)

When I pull the phone out of my pocket, I normally put my fingers into my pocket, reach from the outside around the phone and then pull the entire phone out.

When the phone is clear of my pocket, I twist my wrist and the phone's touch screen is now having me. 

In this position, my fingers are on one side of the phone (on the volume side) and my thumb is on the right side.

For the iPhone 6 Plus, I found that the sleep switch was a little off of where my thumb would be.  However--I'm sure I can compensate for that over time.

But once I press the on/off/sleep switch, I now have to reposition my hand to reach for the "slide to unlock".

Coming from a company that brags how "brilliant" they are for having a "two light touch" feature, I don't understand why my thumb has to do gymnastics to unlock the phone.

Am I going to get an iPhone 6?

I'm not sure yet.  I always told myself that if the new iPhone didn't have a few features, that I would start looking at other phones.  That time has come.  The new iPhone is missing a few features that I think it needs to have.  Because of that, I'm definitely going to look at the other manufacturers out there (HTC?  Samsung) before purchasing an iPhone.

Note that Apple still has the leading position in my mind.  I mean...  When I was first looking at Samsung phones, they had a new model out every month.  If bought one, getting Operating System upgrades on your month old phone was impossible.

I've always liked Apple phone because they didn't seem to leave their previous models too far behind.  Note...  I'm a software developer.  Just because you made a few improvements to the O/S isn't supposed to mean you through out the device.

I mean...  Nowadays, just about every device has firmware (software) and has bugs.  Most likely, even your DVD player sitting in your house is in that situation.  Most of these devices will "call home" and will download updates as the need arrises.

So to have a "smart" phone that doesn't do this doesn't make any sense to me at all.  And blaming the cell phone company just doesn't wash either!

One more thing...

I'm still quite disturbed about Apple not improving the durability of their phones.  I mean...  What is the point of making the phone super thin when you end up buying a thick case for it?  It just seems like a zero-sum game!

I mean...  I don't want my phone to break if a little water splashes on it.  I don't want to have to take it to Apple so they can complain about stuff turning pink inside just because I mistakenly put my phone on some condensation from my cold drink!

And I don't want to worry if my phone slides off my lap when I shift in my seat.  (I mean...  Is there a good reason to make phones that are so slick?  All of my phone cases tended to have a nice nonslip surface.  And I don't mean that thick "super-grippy" type surface but just that "satin"-type surface.)

Fix this already!


Last Reviewed: 09/19/2014 12:00 a - Fri

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