Apple’s brilliant iPhone 6 surrender

“It was as recently as the Apple iPhone 5s that Cupertino released a series of ads promoting the serendipity coincidence that iPhone screens were the perfect size to be manipulated with one hand,” Douglas Ehrman writes for Seeking Alpha. “Yet with the release of the iPhone 6, the company has surrendered its position that larger screens were not sensible, and thus addressed one of the biggest complaints consumers have had with iPhones for several generations.”

“The move represents both an important answer to consumer wishes and a shift in Cupertino’s general approach to the market,” Ehrman writes. “In the past, Apple has been a staunch practitioner of the philosophy that the company defined what was cool, what was needed, and what was best. This traces back to Steve Jobs, whose vision allowed Apple to grow to its current stature. He was less interested in what everyone wanted, preferring to let Apple lead the way in defining the markets in which it sold products. By answering to the pressures of the market, Cupertino, under CEO Tim Cook, is showing Apple can be responsive. This is clearly a surrender, but a brilliant one that should drive shares higher.”

Ehrman writes, “Apple has taken a real step forward by surrendering on the screen size issue, which will let consumers focus on the things iPhones do really well.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Finally removing the screen size issue will allow iPhone, iOS, and the Apple ecosystem’s strengths to shine through. It will hurt Android in the premium smartphone market. The importance of allowing users to focus on iPhone’s strengths to shine by removing the occlusion of tiny displays cannot be overstated. Apple will continue to gather more and more of the most desirable customers around the world and iPhone 6/Plus will accelerate the process.


    1. I don’t think the focus at Apple has shifted for even one bit. It remains where it always was: creating the best possible products that delight the highest number of consumers.

      The writer of the article seems to be happy that the consequence of this action will be AAPL going up. That was NOT Apple’s motivational force, and will likely never be, but writer seems to be excited by it. Perhaps he holds AAPL shares…?

    2. I agree with Predrag. And in case you missed it, in doing the larger screen iPhones Apple also included features that address the issue of large screen sizes and one handed usage in terms of reach. Not sure what they called it or even if it was covered in the event, but it was covered in some of the articles post-event.

      1. Yes, there is a gesture that shifts the screen halfway down, allowing one-handed access to what was on the top of the screen. Afterward it automatically returns to the top. It’s pretty clever.

    1. Emphasizing that Apple had to reverse a strongly held position to get things right for (some) consumers is the point. It shows that while Apple is great at getting most things right the first time, the company can let go of assumptions when it needs to. Both skills bode well for Apple.

      It would have been nice if Apple had “surrendered” sooner and come out with a smaller iPad and larger iPhones instead of giving Android so much time to grow in those gaps. But at least those oversights are corrected now.

      1. Android was designed to capture major market share so no matter what Apple does, it won’t stop Android’s goal. A large display might have added a few million more in iPhone sales but pricing is the main problem and not enough production capacity is another.

        Apple will never get close to Android market share because Google will see to it that it never happens. Google is already going after another billion BRIC consumers with Android One OS which will use $75 smartphones to capture massive market share. Apple couldn’t possibly compete even if Apple had the most perfect smartphone in the world. Apple does not do cheap junk. Google has no qualms about building a platform of junk devices. User satisfaction doesn’t even factor into the equation. For Google, cheap is everything to the path of total domination. This is one of the reasons why Google will always be favored by Wall Street over Apple.

        1. Actually I think Wall Street just may be finally realizing market share is not as important as previously held. Not when profit margin is what kicks financial butt and continues to. Hard to say what percentage of Google stock price reflects whatever Android is contributing, which sure isn’t direct profit from the OS.

        2. And why Wall Street will always miss Apple’s boat. How many of those nay-sayer, “market share is everything” analysts made 100x investments for their customers over the last 10 years? I have a half dozen friends who listened to them. They didn’t buy at $30. They didn’t buy at $60, or $100, or $300, always because Apple was doomed, the party was over, and Apple would be on the decline any moment now. Every one of them that could have put $100K into Apple at $30 (pre-splits) is crying in their beer now, and telling me that the ride is over. and Apple will be on the decline any moment now. They believed Wall Street, and now they are sorry they did, but they still can’t see the value in Apple. Meanwhile, my 100x profits will be financing my next house.

      1. Scott said “larger screen phone” not “larger screens” in general. However, if you’d like to compare real qualities of screens of the same size I’ll bite. I’m not referring to a spec sheet but a true comparison of quality of materials, craftsmanship, performance, etc.

        People like to say this about displays as well. I regret giving in to this type of hype and moving away from Apple displays. It was a miserable time and I’m so glad to be back to my Apple display that is excellent in every aspect. Maybe not the spec sheet killer others are but an overall quality product worth the price.

        In the end I feel I’ve been trolled. :/

    1. Will Apple’s Reachability method works well for everyone? Looked like an awkward feature from the keynote. Also, Apple’s screens have not surpassed the competition — they are just now almost catching up. Thank goodness Apple at least picked good sizes. To me, 4.7″ seems about perfect.

      1. How many pixels does your screen need? Apple screens are has refined as they need to be for the human eye. If the best that your eye can see is 10 pixels then what value is there in buying a device that has a screen of 20 pixels? More pixels is just a marketing gimmick. The sad part is that many people fall for that gimmick.

  1. MacDailyNews Take: Finally removing the screen size issue will allow iPhone, iOS, and the Apple ecosystem’s strengths to shine through. It will hurt Android in the premium smartphone market. Error: android and premium shall not be used in the same sentence without the word “not” immediately before or after.

    1. Not to mention that the screen size wasn’t an issue in the first place a many of us. The 5S is still a *very* premium product, and one I intend to use for many years to come.

    1. That paints things in an even worse light. It means that Apple’s admitting they made a mistake *2 years ago* when the iPhone 5 only increased in height over the 4S, and then they were stuck with it for one more model due to their traditional 2-year form factor cycles.

      Maybe the decision was for better profit margins, because of course it would sell well regardless. Maybe they were still making design decisions under Steve Jobs’ shadow. And maybe they decided, like usual, that they didn’t care about market share or losing some customers to larger Androids. Whatever the case, keeping it small was not a decision that “delighted customers”.

  2. I don’t care about one hand typing. Heck, I use two hands on all my iPhones from 3 to 5S because of my fat fingers. I’m glad for the larger size & will be ordering my iPhone 6 Plus tonight thru Verizon wireless. I have to use them because Apple Customer Service told me today, they are not pre-ordering unlocked phones. I have to pre-order thru my carrier if I want an unlocked iPhone 6 Plus.

  3. I don’t doubt that Apple performed significant market research; however, I am surprised the sizes weren’t 4″ and 4.7″. I still can’t imagine dealing with the 5.5″ unless you carry a purse.

    1. I had fully intended to get the 4.7″. But before I did I cut a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of the 6+. To my surprise it fit easily into most pockets, and with room to spare in the front pocket of my jeans. Laying it on top of an iPad mini it was so much smaller I was surprised.

      I have a remote controller for an air conditioner that by chance is almost exactly the same height (though a little more narrow, but much thicker). Using that as a proxy was pretty good way to judge what happens when sitting.

      So I ended up ordering the 6+, something I thought I’d never do.

  4. It’s too bad BLN disappeared from this site after it was clear iOS 7 wasn’t going away. Big screens were his irrational obsession. It would be interesting to see how he’d react.


  5. eh —
    as usual writers push the myth to make an ‘interesting’ story.

    Actually as all Apple fans know Jobs can change his mind to user needs.
    From conceding the need for CDR drives in macs to implementing 3 ‘button’ mouse control to replace the one button mouse etc.

    seems like Apple also SOLVED some issues it feared like one handed control before it put out the big phones.

    1. Jobs constantly changed his mind. The original iMac came as 128 MB device. Jobs insisted more would never be needed. I year later he had 1000 MB device. He did the same thing with the smaller iPods. The 4″ iPhone was due to customer desire for a larger screen.

      The iPad was in response to customer the desire for a netbook like device. Jobs fought against that for a few years before he brought us the iPad.

      Tim Cook has been quoted in saying that Jobs was well known for changing his mind.

      Apple changing direction is nothing new.

      1. And how much of this is marketing, secrecy, and a change in conditions. Often it’s about timing. 3G wasn’t in the original iPhone and it was considered one of it’s big failings, but it wasn’t the right time for power/battery/size/network reasons.

  6. I get that the fat finger crowd needs larger screens, and that there are those who can’t shake the stigma that ‘bigger is better’, so ok, Apple made those guys an iPhone… cool. The problem is, they shouldn’t have done away with the smaller size all together. Even the smaller of the 6’s is still considerably larger than its predecessor, and for those who like compact, elegant design that can be easily used with one hand, there is no longer an option.

    My Wife loves her iPhone, and was already unhappy at the modest jump between the original – 4S to the 5, but it was minor and she adapted. Upon seeing these, she stated that she has to make her 5 last, and has no idea what she’ll do for a phone once it dies, as the 6 is just too damn big for her little hands.

    It’s fine to expand out to attract new customers, but one shouldn’t alienate their existing base in the process.

    1. I have fat fingers, but small hands. I just bought my first 4.0″ screen about a month ago. I had seen it – everyone else in the family had one – and knew it would be okay. I don’t think the jump to 4.7 will be as insignificant. I’ll look at it, of course, but won’t own it anytime soon.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.